tv House Session CSPAN June 17, 2015 5:00pm-9:01pm EDT
minute. mr. costello: thank you, mr. speaker. the cost of health care continues to increase in this country, and as a philosophical matter, i do not believe inserting more government between a patient and their doctor will reduce costs. in fact to the contrary. but there are things government can do. that's why we in the house of representatives are putting more money into n.i.h. funding. it's why 21st century cures has been introduced to streamline approval processes at the f.d.a. and make sure that various stakeholders involved in finding cures are all working together. . what remains as a contradiction is a policy that taxes those who seek to innovate through pioneering medical device equipment. we are taxing those who are trying to help improve and who have improved public health outcomes. it just doesn't make sense. simply put it is a disincentive to invest in capital in an industry that is the single most
important in the history of civilization to improve public health, our life sciences here in this country. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota. mr. paulsen: i yield one minute to the gentleman from west virginia, mr. mooney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mooney: i'm a proud co-sponsor of h.r. 160, the protect medical innovation act of 2015, also known as the medical device tax repeal. this bill would repeal the tax on medical device manufacturers that was put into place under obamacare. the medical device tax rate is 2.3% and this is in addition to the state sales tax on common medical devices, such as
pacemakers, hearing aids and insulin pumps. this tax hurts the very same americans we should be helping. for example 13% of the people of west virginia, the state i'm blessed to represent, have diabetes. this 2.3% tax makes it more difficult for struggling taxpayers in west virginia and around the country to access critical health care devices like insulin pumps. this tax will continue to continue to weaken the industry's ability to grow and help people in need. it will also continue to hinder the development of lifesaving treatments and devices. vote for the repeal of the ill-advised medical device tax. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from minnesota. mr. paulsen: i yield one minute
to mr. benishek, a physician who works with patients each and every day. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. benishek: i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 160 the protect innovation act. it will permanently repeal the misguided excise tax on medical devices that was imposed by the president's health care law. i'm a co-sponsor of this important legislation along with 280 members of this house of representatives. in the 113th congress, the senate endorsed getting rid of this burdensome tax by an overwhelming margin. it's time for this tax to go. the medical device tax discourages innovation lowers the quality of medical care available to the american people and cuts jobs while driving production overseas. companies in my district are being harmed by this burdensome tax. instead of hamstringing these
manufactures, we should allow them to create new medical devices and create jobs. i know how important medical devicesr for providing quality health care and getting rid of this tax will improve our nation's health care system. i hope my colleagues will join me in fixing this train wreck that is the president's health care law. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from minnesota. mr. paulsen: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, a state that has been a leader in developing new technologies mr. rohrabacher. mr. rohrabacher: i rise in support of this effort to prevent this very destructive tax from having the harmful impact that we know it will have. this medical device tax is perhaps the most odious of any tax that has been loaded upon
the shoulders of the american people in the history of our republic. our first chief justice of the supreme court john marshal l pointed out that the power to tax is the power to destroy. who is being hurt by this medical device tax? it is the american people who are suffering health challenges, and we are putting them as the people who we are going to be basically paying the bill or doing without their medical devices. i would like to give a personal example of this and i know it's a very painful experience to do so but i need to share that. 2 1/2 years ago, my daughter, who was at that time, nine years old had leukemia. and it was a horror story for my family. a horror story just like it is for families across america.
and we came out of that. we went through it. it was a tough road for a year. and -- but she is now -- last week, she had her last cancer treatment and last week, she was declared cancer-free. well 90% of the kids that get leukemia now -- i would ask for an extra minute. 90% of the kids who get leukemia today are cured from leukemia after a period of time. they will actually live through this. only 40 years ago 90% of the kids who got leukemia died. well, we have had different advances in medicine -- actually achieved this goal. in my daughter's case, i could see that a medical device was put under her skin so she didn't have to take the chemo into her arms which would result in
younger kids and decades ago when their veins would collapse because of the chemo being shot into their arm. the people who devised that medical device saved my daughter's life. and now we want to make them the most heavily taxed people in our country? that is ridiculous. we want to encourage people to build these type of devices that will save our children and help those people who are suffering. this medical device tax is wrong. it was wrongheaded from the very beginning. in the name of saving future children from things we might be able to cure with a proper medical device we need to make sure we eliminate this tax and keep faith with future generations as well as those people who are suffering today. i ask my colleagues to join me in getting rid of the attack on this tax on medical devices.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. . the gentleman from minnesota. mr. paulsen: pauls how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota has 11 minutes and the gentleman from michigan has 16 1/2 minutes. mr. paulsen: i yield one minute to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. thompson. mr. thompson: i rise today as a 0-year health care professional and proud co-sponsor of h.r. 160, the protect medical innovation act of 2015. this bill would repeal the affordable care act 2.3% tax on medical devices. these are medical devices that save and improve lives for millions of americans. these devices include pacemakers, artificial joints ct scans and many many more.
it is a terrible policy that is stifling innovation and hurting small businesses all across the nation and certainly the pennsylvania's 5th congressional district. this legislation which has strong bipartisan support will protect american jobs keep america at the cutting edge of technological medical devices and having served in a nonprofit health care setting for three decades, i ask my colleagues to join me to repeal this unnecessary and very harmful tax. thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from minnesota. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: are you ready to close? minnesota mr. paulsen: i'm prepared to close. mr. levin: there's no one that questions the importance of this industry, no one.
this country has been in the forefront in terms of creating medical devices. there's been innovation. there has been enterprise. and it has impacted the lives of millions of people. that's not the issue here. the issue is this. a number of industries and a number of providers participated in creating the health care reform act. essentially i'm not sure it's the industry as much as some members are essentially coming here and say give this industry a free ride in terms of their participation while others are doing their part. that isn't fair.
it isn't workable. it's also fiscally irresponsible. i'd like to talk to the c.e.o.'s of any of these companies and ask them if they think it's fiscally responsible to repeal this provision costing well over $20 billion unpaid for made permanent. indeed this industry joined with others in the health care world in this country in a letter of may 11 2009, to the president, and i read from it. dear mr. president. we believe that all americans should have access to affordable, high quality health care services. thus, we applaud your strong commitment to reforming our nation's health care system.
the times demand and the nation expects that we as health care leaders work with you to reform the health care system. and it concludes with this paragraph. we as stakeholder representatives are committed to doing our part to make reform a reality in order to make the system more affordable and effective for patients and purchaseses. we stand ready to work with you to accomplish this goal and was signed by a number of representatives, the a.m.a. the american health insurance plans their leadership. the pharmaceutical research and manufacturers, et cetera. also signed by the president and c.e.o. of the advanced medical
technology association. so now people are coming here and saying, what was essentially committed to in 2009 should essentially be ripped out of a.c.a. in 2015. i just want to read from a report by the national center for health research. and i refer, for example, to the chart on a number of employees at the 12 largest u.s.-based device companies. all of them show an increase in employment of the 12 largest except two. and in one case, the reduction was from 10,800 to 10,000 500. one company did have a larger loss, but it wasn't anything
close to catastrophic. then the number of employees at the small publicly traded device companies one two, three, four five six seven eight, nine. and of those, only seven show a reduction in the number of employees from 2012 to 2014. and one of them, there was a reduction of one, and the other, a reduction of four employees. and then there's another with the reduction of four, and another, a reduction of six. the others had increases in their employment. and two of them -- one went from 230 to 320 and another from 244 to 303. these are the smallest. let me also refer in this document to stock prices for the 12 largest u.s.-based device
companies. when you look down at the profit margin, all of their profits went up except one, which had a reduction of 1.6% from the close january 2, 2013 to the close, january 2, 2015. that reduction was tiny. the others had a very substantial reduction, some in the 20's, one in the 30's and the average was 13.8% increase in the profit margin. . the 2013 employment released by e.p. advantage showed that 11 of the top 15 device makers expanded their work force after
the device tax went into effect. so i think what's happening here is that a few of my colleagues are coming here and using a few examples, and i don't deny in a capitalist system there are some losers as well as some winners. everybody isn't necessarily a winner and there was a recession in this country during some of these years, but to come here and to use those examples that really are refuted by the overall data i think is essentially saying that we ought to begin on this point to rip apart the a.c.a. because in every case there hasn't been an improvement for
every company. and in terms of research and development, the ernst & young report makes it very clear that spending by the industry increased by 6% the same year. so i'm just asking everybody who cares about health care reform, who cares about the overall picture here in the united states resist the temptation to take a several examples, perhaps from their own district, and draw a conclusion about what really has happened in the medical device industry and essentially to come forth because of those relatively few examples and say we should now essentially repeal this provision, costing well over $20 billion unpaid for permanently. that's not only contrary to the letter i read, it's contrary to fairness within the health care
industry and it's really unfair to the millions of people who have benefited from a.c.a. when the motive really of so many republicans who come here is not to simply this tax but part of an effort to essentially repeal the a.c.a. altogether. we should resist that. the people of this country do not want that repeal, so let's vote no and a resounding no on this proposal. i guess now we yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. paulsen: mr. speaker, i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. paulsen: mr. speaker couple of points right off the bat. my friend from michigan claims that the tax necessarily hasn't impacted jobs. in his home state there's a company named stryker. they laid off 1,000 employees
back in november 2011, to provide efficiencies and realigned resources in the advance of the new medical device excise tax. and as i mentioned earlier mr. speaker, a lot of the data that was mentioned earlier, those figures, talking about how well the industry is doing and the growth and the sales numbers, it's global data. these are companies that have global awareness and a global presence. those are not u.s. jobs. we want those jobs in the united states. if we can repeal this tax, we can make sure that job growth is here in the u.s. instead of outside of the united states. mr. speaker, this is not smart tax policy. it is hurting our innovators. it is costing us jobs. this industry is an american success story. we all know the names of the larger companies because some of those were mentioned here in the debate on the floor today. but there are thousands of these companies thousands, the vast majority because again, 98% have less than 500
employees and over 80% have less than 50 employees. these are companies you have never heard of. but there is a doctor or an engineer or an entrepreneur that has started or come up with an idea to create a company in the back yard, in the garage to help improve lives or saves lives. that's what we're trying to protect here, mr. speaker. these are not technicians in some white lab coats that are trying to build widgets or build a widget faster. they are on a mission to save lives. what can you more entrepreneurially worthwhile than that? and we in congress have a responsibility to give america's innovators the best shot, the best opportunity possible by removing any obstructions to those inventions that are going to bring us all a better quality of life, and we have the ability to create a new age ofin american innovation and we can help kick-start that process this week, today, tomorrow with a vote by repealing the destructive medical device tax. it was mentioned as part of the
debate also that the industry came forward and there was vast support in support of the affordable care act and they agreed to the tax. mr. speaker, there are no letters whatsoever that supported from the industry that supported their vying for a 2.3% excise tax a tax on revenue, not on profit. it's true there were letters put out saying they were committed to health care reform, they wanted to see that process move forward but then they were very vocal when this excise tax idea was floated as part of the new health care law and even after the law was passed, it's been continuous raising awareness about their opposition knowing of the detrimental effects that it would have. mr. speaker, this is also not about the affordable care act, because we've had many votes on that to repeal it, to change it to move in a different direction. this is about a tax that is going into the general fund. it is not going into some special account to fund obamacare. that's not what this tax is doing. this is in the general fund, so
that affordable care act discussion, that will come up at another time with the court case coming up in the near future. this is more of an opportunity to stand up for an opportunity with a bipartisan voice to declare our support for american manufacturing, for american jobs and protecting our patients, including our seniors, mr. speaker. i just want to remind my friends the president has said he's been open to any ideas that improve accessibility, that improve affordability and quality of health care and that's exactly what this bill does. it's about protecting access to those devices and it's important to point out 281 co-sponsors. the bipartisan support is deep and it's broad. if you think about to the sustainable growth rate debate we had a few months ago. that's important to bring up. why? because there was bipartisan support. and the belief that it was harming patient care and innovation. this is good policy now if we can repeal this tax. it's about doing the right thing for our constituents that outweigh the concerns about the
offsets. mr. speaker, with that i would yield back the balance of my time and urge support for this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota has yielded back the balance of his time. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 219, the previous question is ordered on the bill -- 319, the previous question is on -- ordered on the bill. the third reading. the clerk: an bill to repeal the excise tax on medical devices. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on passage of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask for the yeas and nays? mr. levin: i do. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays have been requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule
20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. recorded votes on postponed questions will be taken later.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2570, the seniors' health care plan protection act of 2015, as amended. the clerk: a program requiring insurance design to demonstrate that reducing the co-payments or co-insurance charged to medicare beneficiaries for selected high value prescription medications and clinical services can increase their utilization and ultimately improve clinical outcomes and lower health care expenditures. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. braidy and the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel -- mr. brady, and the gentleman from
new york, mr. rangel, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2570 currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brady: mr. speaker i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i stand in strong support of h.r. 2570, the strengthening medicare advantage through innovation and transparency for seniors act. this package is comprised of two policies and i'll let the sponsors who worked so hard to speak to them in more depth. the electronic health fairness act of 2015 is marked up -- was marked up by the committee back in february physicians practicing in the a.s.c. setting, by reducing meaningless burdens for lights of service that were left out of the requirements. this exemption only lasts until a.s.c.'s are able to catch up and everybody will be on equal
footing regarding meaningful use requirements. the bill then establishes a new demonstration program based on value-based insurance design. this proposal would give plans the ability to adjust benefits based on their enrollees' needs. the one-size-fits-all policy in medicare advantage creates the need for different types of plans that wouldn't be necessary if regular medicare advantage plans could adjust their benefits' structures to better serve our seniors. reducing co-pays or cost sharing for beneficiaries for the sake of better health care outcomes is right in line with the principles that i support as all seniors are different and should be served as such that all have an opportunity for positive health outcomes. the bill also includes a policy that changes the way medicare pays for drugs that doctors prescribe that are infused through durable medical equipment items. this change means that medicare payments will be more market
based. the policy does take away the potential that these rates could change significantly in the future by exempting the drugs from d.m.e. competitive bidding. that said, i'm committing to ensuring beneficiaries who need threes drugs are able to continue to get them in their home and we'll certainly monitor the impact. i want to thank ways and means members mrs. black of tennessee and mr. blumenauer of oregon for their continued leadership in improving medicare advantage. their very hard work will ensure that seniors for years will come and enjoy better health care choices and more options at that. with that, mr. speaker. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. rangel: i reserve myself such time as i may need. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rangel: mr. speaker, i join with the gentleman from texas in supporting h.r. 2570, representative black and representative blaurg worked
hard on this issue. this legislation would allow the secretary of h.h.s. to conduct the demonstration giving managed care organizations the opportunity to offer plans with a variety of benefits structure that would lower the cost sharing. we think it makes a lot of sense and i concur and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to a key member of the ways and means committee and health care professional herself, the gentlelady from tennessee, mrs. black. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. black: mr. speaker, as a nurse for over 40 years, i understand the challenge of helping americans find affordable health care coverage. but the sad truth is even for those who do have health coverage, high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs can lead too many americans functionually uninsured. when families are forced to choose between buying groceries
and filling a prescription, their health is sidelined and they risk facing even higher medical costs down the road. that is why i authored h.r. 2570, the strengthening medicare advantage through innovation and transparency for seniors act. our bill directs c.m.s. to set up a pilot project for what is known as value-based insurance design. instead of the current one-size-fits-all approach to cost sharing, vbid says lowering a patient's out-of-pocket cost for essential prescription drugs and services, customers will then be motivated to stick with their regimen and stay healthier. . this will decrease the long-term costs to our health care system and provide a higher quality of care for our patients. my bill also helps our priors by
offering ambulatory surgical centers relief from the recordkeeping mandate. it doesn't always work for a small out-patient surgical facility. providers who practice medicine should not be penalized as a result. i thank congressman blumenauer and congresswoman mrs. mcmorris rodgers. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. mr. rangel: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i'm prepared to close. mr. rangel: i have no further requests for time to close. at this time i concur with the gentleman from texas. members worked hard in perfecting these bills and i
support h.r. 2570. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. mr. rangel: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: this is a very good bill and improvement to medicare advantage and it is really a case of republicans and democrats finding common ground and doing it in a way that helps seniors with their choices and tayloring health care. and i urge support for this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2570 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. 2/3 being in the affirmative the rules are suspended and the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the
table. observation, the title is amended -- without objection the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2507, the increasing regulatory fairness act of 2015 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2507 a bill to amend title 18 of the social security act to establish an annual rulemaking schedule for payment rates under medicare advantage. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. brady and the gentleman from california mr. thompson will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2507 currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without
objection. mr. brady: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: i stand in support of h.r. 2507, the increasing regulatory fairness act. this is an important piece of legislation. today the medicare advantage program serves more than 16 million seniors throughout the country. enrollment has increased more than three-fold over the past decade and expected to nearly double in the next. to ensure seniors continue receiving the high quality of care they get under the program c.m.s. is expected to pay out $156 billion to more than 3,600 medicare advantage plans just this year. that's nearly 30% of medicare spending. typically every year c.m.s. sends out the rate notice to plans to companies that detail
the various payment rates and benefit changes the agency plans to make for the following year. this notice follows the standard rulemaking process of other payment systems, that is a draft notice is published, the public has a certain amount of time to submit comments in question and then the agency publishes the final notice base odd that feedback. this current process takes about 45 days. no matter how many days are allotted for public comment, the answer, a mere 15 days. 15 days for thousands of plans and millions of stakeholders submit comments on proposed changes to a program that amounts to 1 third of all medicare spending. i could understand that if it was short and concise and easy to implement, but it has not. it has grown from 16 pages in 2006 to nearly 150 pages this
year. that's over a nine-fold increase. all the while the time for the public comment period has remained the same. this means less and less time for plans and congress to conduct the necessary review so we can give them the feedback to assess the impact of their proposed changes. this is important because without appropriate feedback c.m.s. could go with the proposed change that might negatively impact these seniors who depend on these plans for access for essential medical care. the legislation before us is simple and straightforward. all it proposes to do is extend the public notice period from 45 days to 60 days, which would mean an extension of the comment period from 15 to 30 days. this is common sense, good government fix we can make that will will give more time, offer
constructive feedback and make the medicare advantage program overall more responsive to senior needs. i want to thank mr. thompson of california who is a key member of our ways and means committee and mr. pitts for their thoughtful and very helpful work on this legislation. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. thompson: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. brady. pleasure working with you on this piece of legislation. i rise in support of h.r. 2507, and every year as was pointsed out, the centers for medicare and medicaid services publishes its rate notice. that outlines all the payment rates and the changes for nearly 2,000 plans that serve our most
vulnerable population. 10 years ago, the call letter and rate notice were less than 20 pages long. since then, enrollment in medicare advantage has nearly tripled. medicare advantage policies have become more complex and the call letter and rate notice has grown nearly ten-fold. at the same time the time between the published and the draft notice and the final notice, which is currently 45 days, has remained unchanged. during this 45-day period in which there are only 15 days to comment on the proposed changes in the program, the plans, members of this body, and our staff are expected to review 150 pages of regulatory changes, understand the impacts of the proposed policy changes on the program, those programs that provide essential medical care to over a third of medicare
beneficiaries. as we all know and as we all have experienced. every february and march, this does not lend itself to an efficient, effective nor transparent process. moreover it deprives c.m.s. of thoughtful constructive feedback that is necessary to approve a program that our seniors love and rely on. this bill is a simple, straightforward measure that will improve the current process by expanding the current cycle from 45 to 60 days which will give plans, stakeholders members and our staff 30 full days, double the current time allowed to analyze and provide feedback on the draft call letter and rate notice. this is a no-cost, good-government, bipartisan bill that will make the process more transparent, more fair and more advantageous for the beneficiaries that we serve. therefore i strongly urge my colleagues to join me in this
important piece of legislation. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: i yield two minutes to a key new member of the house of representatives who understands the importance of medicare advantage, the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. carter: one of the things i always strive for in my personal and professional life is to do things better. there is no such thing as standing still. if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. we can continue to get things better at what we do. that's the goal of h.r. 2507 the increasing regulatory fairness act of 2015. as part of the annual rulemaking process, c.m.s. update payments to the medicare advantage program. with the current structure of this annual process, health insurers are given little time to submit comments to the new payment rates or even determine
whether the payment adjustment is beneficial. with h.r. 2507, health insurers will have additional time to analyze whether the payment adjustments are justified and overall beneficial. we must always try to get better every day. this includes our work as civil servants. h.r. 2507 will provide a better environment to create the best payment rate agreement regarding medicare advantage plans. by providing more time for comments and the finalizing of rates, medicare advantage enrollees will get a better calculated benefit for their plans. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. thompson: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i'm prepared to close as well. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california.
mr. thompson: i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i concur with the statements previously made by my colleagues and thank mr. brady and mr. pitts for working with me. as stated before, this is a simple no-cost bill that will improve the current process and the current medicare advantage program. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 2507 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. brady: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i would like to ask unanimous consent to submit a floor statement by congressman pitts, chairman of the health committee of the committee of energy and commerce. the speaker pro tempore: the request will be covered by general leave. mr. brady: i appreciate so much mr. thompson's work on a bill that not only bridges both parties, a number of committees
in this congress and really provides a commonsense way to make sure the public, congress and others can comment and make sure these rules really benefit the seniors who are receiving medicare advantage. i urge strong support and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2507 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended and the bill is passed without objection. the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2505, medicare advantage coverage transparency act of 2015 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2505, a bill to amend title 18 of the social security act to require the annual reporting of data on enrollment in medicare advantage plans. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. brady and the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, will control 20 minutes. the chair will recognize the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2505, currently under consideration.
the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brady: i ask unanimous consent that the exchange of letters be included in the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brady: mr. speaker i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i stand in strong support of h.r. 2550, the medicare advantage coverage transparency act of 2015. this is commonsense legislation that's truly about transparency in health care data. medicare advantage currently makes up close to 1/3 of the medicare program's enrollees. the congressional budget office projects that medicare enrollment numbers will swell over the next decade. medicare advantage will grow to over 40% of medicare. it will be beneficial for members of congress to fully understand what the makeup of health enrollment is in their districts, whether it's medicare advantage part d, the prescription drug plan, or fee for service. members and their staff will be able to better serve their constituents and more fully
with access to this data. and as we continue to work on, process and pass legislation to improve the medicare program, getting this enrollment snatch shot will provide very -- snapshot will provide very transparency and openness. i want to thank the gentleman from pennsylvania mr. kelly, mr. kind and mr. bilirakis for their hard work in getting this legislation through the committee and to the house floor. and with that mr. speaker, i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i reserve myself such time as i may consume mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rangel: i concur with my dear friend from texas congressman kelly and ron kind have worked together to try to get more information from our congressional districts to see exactly what the enrollments are in medicare and makes us better legislators so we can
improve the bill. so i thank these bills are worth the support of the house of representatives, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm proud to yield four minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, a new member of the ways and means committee, a business person who understands the openness and transparency required to improve medicare, proud to yield four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. kelly: i thank the gentleman mr. speaker. thomas jefferson once said the cornerstone of democracy rests in the foundation of an educated electorate. whenever the people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government. jefferson's vision for our democracy was premised on the notion that individuals are intelligent enough to determine the best choices for their lives their families and their communities. and not some money lithic,
personalistic government. a prerequisite of being well-informed is to ensure that the american people have adequate information about how federal policies and decisions made in washington will or are impacting their lives. that's why this france parentsy is so is right -- transparency is so vital to our government. it is to tell the electorate. laws should not be shrouded in secrecy. we need to be fostering a culture of openness and transparency when legislating and making decisions here in washington. that's what this legislation is all about, providing more transparency to the american people about their health care, specifically medicare advantage coverage. h.r. 2505 the medicare advantage coverage transparency act, is a bill to do just that. with passage of h.r. 2505 c.m.s. will be required to provide additional information on medicare advantage enrollment information based on zip code. this will be available for prescription drug plans as well
as regular medicare advantage. enrollment unders part a part b, part c and enrollment under part d will also be covered. the purpose of this additional data is to provide greater information to the public, policymakers and the health care community so they have the benefit of a more and better information when making decisions. c.m.s. should provide a more transparent accounting of medicare enrollment data to government. other government offices and the american people. so committees of jurisdiction can better understand how medicare advantage is serving the health care needs of the nation as well as individual congressional districts. h.r. 2505 would require an annual report on medicare enrollment data so members of congress have more accurate information regarding the constituents' use of medicare program. such transparency will allow americans and members of congress to better know and understand the scope of medicare enrollment on a local level as well as the specific populations affected. in 2014, the majority of the 54
million people on medicare are in the traditional medicare program with 30% enrolled in a medicare advantage plan. since 2004, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has almost tripled from 5.3 million to 15.7 million in 2014. in pennsylvania, 18% of the total population in the commonwealth is enrolled in some form of medicare. of the 18% 39% of those folks are -- medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a medicare advantage plans. this legislation will give me and my constituents more information about how changes to medicare advantage plans in washington will impact my constituents at home in the third congressional district of pennsylvania and every member and all their constituents around this great country. i want to thank chairman ryan for bringing up this bill and leader mccarthy for bringing this bill to the floor and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas.
mr. brady. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield to the gentleman from texas, chairman of the rules committee mr. sessions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. sessions: i send to the desk a privileged report. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 321, resolution providing for consideration of the senate amendment to the bill h.r. 2146, to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to allow federal law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans after age 50 and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed.
the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. rangel: mr. speaker, i have no request for time so i'll continue to reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. brady. mr. brady: i'm proud to yield two minutes to one of the key authors of this legislation one of the leaders of health care on the energy and commerce committee, mr. bilirakis of florida. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. bilirakis: thank you mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it very much. i rise today in support of a bill i'm proud to sponsor with my friends, representative kelly, who is the lead sponsor and representative kind. h.r. 2505, the medicare advantage coverage transparency act. 15 million americans choose medicare advantage. by all accounts, medicare advantage has been successful for its enrollees, including those i represent. similarly, approximately 37 million seniors choose part d as of 2014. over 1,000 medicare part d plans are offered nationwide,
and the program has continued to grow in popularity and will well -- under its initial budget. i think it's one of the greatest programs in the history of the congress, medicare part d is. the center for medicare and medicaid services office of legislation used to issue reports on the medicare advantage and part d enrollment data for each congressional district. however in 2012, they stopped issuing these reports. why? it is now 2015, and they have still not provided this data. information is valuable to legislators and health researchers. more information we have about how a program is working the better decision we can make. currently enrollment data for medicare advantage and part d come from third-party sources. however, it is time for c.m.s. to continue to do its job and
provide this information. as i said earlier, by all accounts from third parties, both medicare advantage and part d are successful programs and, of course, as is traditional medicare and it's used -- these programs are used by so many seniors, mr. speaker. they are keeping our seniors healthier and saving them money. this is a good government bill and i am hopeful for a strong bipartisan vote. and i yield back. thank you mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close. mr. rangel: i concur with the bill and i advocate a yes vote. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker i yield myself just two quick minutes. i really appreciate the leadership of mr. kelly mr. bilirakis and mr. kind from wisconsin who together republicans democrats cross-committees recognize the
need for openness. knowledge is power. knowledge of medicare advantage . who's receiving it and whose district we think very important to strengthening medicare as an entire program going forward. i urge support for this legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2505, as amended. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, and the bill is passed. without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2582, the securing seniors' health care act of 2015, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of
the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2582, a bill to amend title 28 of the social security act to improve the risk adjustment under the medicare advantage program rges to delay the authority to terminate medicare advantage contracts for m.a. plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. braidy and the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, each will control 20 minutes. the chair will recognize the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2582, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i stand in strong support of h.r. 2582, the securing seniors' health care act of 2015. when medicare began implementing the stars rating measurement system, they did so
using the typical washington approach of one size fits all. stars program uses the same measures to evaluate plans with different benefit designs and different coverage mixes. congress needs to work with stakeholders and medicare to reform this system to make it work for all. c.m.s. should continue to study issues like the effect that socioeconomic conditions have on health care and the effect that the coverage of duos has on rating system and must serve their population. this legislation is common sense. let's not restrict seniors from plans they've chosen and like just because they aren't performing well under c.m.s.'s poorly managed stars standards. until we truly understand the affect of duos and low-income beneficiaries on plans stars ratings we shouldn't be terminating them. a three-year delay will do just that, give c.m.s. congress the time to address the stars rating system and allow all
seniors access to the plans they choose and like. c.m.s. has made some poor policy decisions in recent years through the regulatory process in medicare advantage and part d, the prescription drug plan and this year's call letter and rate notice is no exception. the changes to the risk adjustment system include masking coding adjustments while in press releases c.m.s. touts not exceeding statutory level of coding and adjustments. so plain english, medicare advantage plans are managed care plans. the changes in the recent regulations handcuff these plans from properly managing some of our frailest seniors suffering, for example from blood and kidney diseases. this bill requires that c.m.s. review the changes made in their most recent regulatory cycle and reverse those that negatively affect risk adjustment. this bill has c.m.s. reviewing the use of encountered data as
well. c.m.s. has told general the government accountability office that the data is not ready yet to show us yet it is being used for risk adjustment in medicare advantage. that doesn't make sense. we need to see a stronger commitment by c.m.s. to be transparent about their policies and their data in medicare advantage. . the changes made this year just don't make sense. i look forward to working with all my colleagues to reverse some of these changes and make continued improvements to the system as a whole. i want to thank mr. buchanan, mr. rangel, mrs. blackburn of tennessee, mr. guthrie and mr. loebsack for their hard work in getting this policy moving forward. i want to again reiterate my thanks to mrs. black and mr. blumenauer on our committee for their leadership regarding these issues and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i reserve to myself
such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rangel: i want to thank the gentleman from texas for bringing up this bill and also my colleague, mr. buchanan of florida. there was some comment that c.m.s. was making some mistakes that have not been transparent. it's been my understanding that they have had problems wrestling with this so-called star system themselves and have not enforced the law that we are now saying that they will not inforce the law until after they study the complex -- enforce the law until after they study the complexities and report back to congress. in short they have this star system and as most people should recognize that when you're dealing with old fragile, sick poor people, there are more complexities to perform than in ordinary programs that compete with medicare advantage. so we have this population and they have penalized some of the
providers because they've had just more problems to deal with than just medical problems. and they haven't been able to resolve them. they haven't enforced this provision. and under this bill which mr. buchanan and the other sponsors have agreed, it tells the c.m.s. to go back and to find a way you can treat these recipients of health care in a fairer way and it also tells c.m.s. to take into consideration that the problems that medicare advantage has to overcome are far more severe and far more complex than other areas. this is particularly true with our citizens in puerto rico that don't really have an option to anything except medicare advantage and, of course as we all know the economic conditions and the poverty that prevails there is extreme. and so i don't have any other requests for time. but i do want to thank my
colleagues on the other side of the aisle for assisting to make certain that the affordable care program and other programs like it become more effective. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to one of the top leaders on health care on the energy and commerce committee, mrs. blackburn of tennessee. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. chairman. i do thank the gentleman from texas for his leadership and for really his commitment to working these issues through. as you have heard him say, dealing with the medicare advantage issues are important and it is important that we get them right. that is why i appreciate the fact that we come to the floor with these suspension bills to revisit these issues and say, look, there are some things that just are not working as they were intended. as you have heard, there has
been bipartisan agreement that the stars rating program need as revisit. c.m.s. even agrees that the rules are not working. and as the gentleman from new york said, this has a specific effect on the frail, the low income, those beneficiaries that are the most frail. it also affects the dual eligibles, those who are both medicare and medicaid eligible. so it is appropriate that we look at this rating program, that we back up and pause and consider the negative impact that some of these arbitrary ratings have on these programs. when it may be the only program that is available that will meet these needs. this is commonsense, it is the right thing to do and i thank
my colleagues that they're ready to say, c.m.s., it's not working you have to come to the table with us. so this delay, this pause and a review of this system is appropriate. i thank everyone involved for their leadership and i do express thanks to mr. buchanan and his team for the way they have worked with us in energy and commerce committee on the issue and with that i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i have no further requests for time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. brady: mr. speaker i yield two minutes again to one of our key health care leaders on the ways and means committee, critical in the advancement of this legislation, mrs. black of tennessee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized. mrs. black: thank you, mr. chairman for yielding. and, mr. speaker i rise today in support of h.r. 2582, the seniors health care plan protection act. i'm pleased that this legislation includes language of my bill, the securing care for the seniors act, and i
thank congressman buchanan for his efforts to bring this important policy solution to the floor of the house today. across the country 16 million seniors enjoy the flexibility of the medicare advantage plan. and when we make changes to this program, seniors are the ones impacted. so it just makes sense that they would have a place at the table when these changes are discussed. but recently c.m.s. revised the medicare advantage risk adjustment model under the she roud of secrecy, with -- under the shroud of secrecy, with little input from congress and little input from medicare beneficiaries. members of both parties have concerns of these modification -- that these modifications could discern recipients. that is why today we're calling for a time-out on c.m.s.'s changes. we're instructing the agency to re-evaluate their risk adjustment model and to move forward with metrics that are
accurate, evidence-based and are transparent. this will ensure that seniors pay a fair cost for their health care plans and that the m.a. program remains sustainable in the long-term. i urge a yes vote on 25 2 and i yield back the balance of my time -- 2582 and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i continue to reserve the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rangel: i yield myself such time as i have reserved. i would just like to say that this has been one of the most exciting recent legislative experiences i've had, where we're dealing with americans who are not republican and democrat, but they're sick people and in this particular case they're sick and they're old and they're fragile and the government is not serving them. and both sides of the aisle have agreed that the administration has to do something to make certain that
they study how we can be fair to the providers and at the same time provide the services to those people that need it, they themselves agree that for three years they have not been able to find an answer and what we have said jointly, you find that answer in three years and until such time, don't you think about terminating these programs. so it's with this cooperation that we both have a common sense of obligation of legislators and it's been a legislative pleasure working with my colleagues on these suspensions this evening. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: yielding myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: i agree with the gentleman from new york that this is a bill that brings really a team of republicans and democrats together with their best ideas on how we can help improve medicare for our seniors. this bill is titled securing
seniors' health care act, it is aptly title. i'm hopeful that today is just one example of more common ground between republicans, democrats, not just on the ways and means committee, but through the house as well. i urge strong support for passage of this bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 2582, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. mr. brady: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: mr. speaker i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today it adjourn to meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection.
the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to urge this body to pass the protect medical innovation act which will repeal the 2.3% medical device excise tax. this harmful tax mandated by obamacare stifles innovation, sends jobs abroad, hurts consumers and places a heavy burden on small businesses in my state and across the country. mr. emmer: more than 35,000 minnesotans are employed in the medical device industry and thousands of minnesotans depend on these state-of-the-art devices to enhance or even save their lives.
this bill has been stalled for long enough. it is imperative that congress pass this legislation now to encourage the development of these innovative technologies rather than enact laws that discourage their creation and accessibility. i am grateful for the tremendous work by my minnesota colleague erik paulsen, representative paulsen has done much to ensure the medical device industry in minnesota continues to thrive for many years to come with this legislation. and again i ask my colleagues to support the protect medical innovation act and pass it immediately. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. the gentleman is recognized. mr. fitzpatrick: thank you mr. speaker. there's no doubt that the
medical device tax that's found within the president's affordable care act sends jobs overseas, hurts american jobs here in the united states raises health care costs for all americans and stifles innovation. but while i have supported the house's action to repeal this onerous tax and support innovation, it's important that i highlight an important issue to my constituents back home in bucks county, pennsylvania. because it's tied into this whole debate. and that issue is medical device safety. and patient safety. many who serve in this chamber may have seen the headlines over the past several months regarding a medical device known as a power morselator and the damage it has caused to women's health by spreading unsuspected cancer throughout their body. these devices are tools used to remove uterinify broids and have been on the market --
uterin fibroids and have been on the market for decades. they could spread unsuspected cansers in women -- spread cancers to unsuspecting women. there's now a black box warning on the devices. several major insurance companies have stopped covering the procedure and some medical device manufacturers have pulled them from the shelves. all appropriate steps to be taken when it becomes clear that a previously approved device has potential to harm instead of help. but as a lawmaker i must ask, how is it that we've gotten to this point? what are the f.d.a. and the medical device industry's protocols? that's why on february 19 of this year i sent a letter to the f.d.a. asking pointed questions about the current streamlined regulartory process that it went through known as 510-k. i asked about f.d.a.'s reporting process for dangerous
devices and their postmarket surveillance techniques. i asked for detailed explanations on why the machine remains on the market despite the high risks that have now been revealed. to date nearly four months from the date that this letter was hand-delivered to the f.d.a., i've not received a written reply. and i ask for unanimous consent that my letter to the f.d.a. be entered into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. fitzpatrick: these are important questions. the answers to which will inform any next steps that we need to take. my constituents want answers, i want answers and i think this chamber needs answers so that we can properly begin to address these gaps in our device safety regulations that allow the machine to slip through -- allowed the machine to slip through the cracks for so long. ensuring safety of our constituents is paramount to each member of this body and that is what i seek when it comes to this issue. i'm hoping the f.d.a. will
partner with me. i'm hoping that every member of this body will partner with me. industry and government need to work together to develop a robust modernized, postmarket device surveillance program that allows us to catch issues like the -- this faster and encourages responsive reporting protocols so if a doctor finds an issue with a device, the manufacturer and the f.d.a. are promptly notified and provided accurate data to take the next appropriate steps. . unfortunately, it's becoming clear that the reporting system for faulty and deadly devices is broken. a recent "wall street journal" story highlighted how in 2006 a doctor from central pennsylvania started to raise the alarm and ask questions about power morselators. he was seeing an alarming number of cancerous tissues at his lab coming in from morselation
surgeries. he estimated the occurrence in the range of one in 300. it took the f.d.a. and industry nearly a decade to come to the same conclusion. within that decade, an unknown number of women were harmed and deceased because their cancers went from localized and treatable to stage 4 and metastasized within days of being spread by the blades of this device. what happened with the power morselator should never be allowed to happen again. we need to be sure that risks are adequately assessed before the device hits the market. we need to monitor devices once they're on the market. and we need to have efficient and effective reporting procedures in place. those within industry and f.d.a. need to be held accountable if it's found that they're turning a blind eye to these issues. i hope that my colleagues will join me in ensuring that patients and safety always come first. with that, mr. speaker, i yield
back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair will entertain a motion. >> i make a motion to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion opinion of the chair the ayes have i may consume.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: mr. speaker i rise in opposition to house concurrent resolution 55. but while i am opposed to the resolution, i do want to commend its author, mr. mcgovern, for his constant and principled attention to the issue of military engagement in iraq and syria and the role of congress in making this decision and these are some of the most important and challenging issues that we face. that we struggle with as an institution. and i know the gentleman from massachusetts is frustrated. i have listened to him on the
floor of the house. in many ways i share his frustrations. isis is making too many gains, critical cities have fallen, but this resolution i believe will take us in the opposite direction of where u.s. policy should be. if the united states were to remove all of our forces from the theater as this resolution calls for isis would surely grow stronger. isis would surely continue on a process -- accelerate on a process of decimating all in its path. placing women under brutal oppression. and i have no doubt further strengthening our -- their position and further threatening our european allies. and even the u.s. homeland. more battlefield victories
would support isis propaganda, which would support its recruitment, which would make it more deadly by the day. mr. speaker no one is eager for this commitment. but isis is on the march and this radical jihadist group is taking more territory more weapons and more resources threatening the government in baghdad and indeed threatening to destabilize this entire critical region. now this house concurrent resolution would call for the unilateral withdrawal of u.s. forces from the fight against isis halting all u.s. strikes against the terrorist group in iraq and syria. it would also leave isis unchecked. not only unchecked by u.s. air power, but it would allow this brutal terrorist group, as i say, to gain strength, to destabilize a critical region, to create a safe haven from
which isis can plot attacks against the united states. house concurrent resolution 55 has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against isis, but would unilaterally withdraw u.s. forces from the fight. last year debating another iraq measure offered by mr. mcgovern i said never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large resource-rich safe haven as isis dozen today. never has aist -- dozen -- does today. never have they had the cash which they do today which includes thousands of western passport holders. unfortunately it is worse today and just weeks ago ramadi, a city only 75 miles from iraq's capital was overrun by isis and by its suicide bombers who
led that first wave. . isis' goals are very clear. wreck every person opposing it, establish a caliphate and then fight to expand it. isis has unleashed a campaign of brutal and depraved violence, not only against shiia muslims and fellow sunnis who do not share their radical beliefs, but against vulnerable religions and ethnic minorities. as one testified before the foreign affairs committee today, and i'll quote we commissionerish ethnic and religious diversity. isis hates it. and they late in some of the most brutal ways possible -- hate in some of the most brutal ways possible. mr. speaker, many not realize that iraq and syria are homes to dozens of religious and ethnic minorities with ancient cultures with very deep roots and these communities are under
mortal threat in their ancestral homelands. the mass execution of men the enslavement of women and young girls as concubines, the destruction of religious sites is part of the isis effort to destroy these communities. their pran is to make it as if -- their plan is to make it as if those societies never existed, those religions in those regions never existed. in fact, isis maintains a special betalon, they call it the demolition battalion, charged with destroying religious sites and artifacts that it considers radical. and isis has used the virtual caliphate on the internet to recruit foreign fighters at an unprecedented rate. some 20,000 of their fighters are in fact from off-shore, are
foreign fighters drawn to the area from some 90 countries and that is the numbers that now are swelling its ranks. according to intelligence estimates, this includes at least 150 americans that we know of. yet over the last 10 or so months, the administration has put forth a reluctant and half-hearted and ineffective effort to assist our partners there on the ground. i think we all recognize that this is up to the iraqi government to fight to win this. we understand that. they're in the lead but they desperately need help and i'm not prepared to say that we shouldn't be providing any military support to the kurds strung along 180 mile -- several hundred-mile front with 180,000 soldiers, 30% of those
kurdish soldiers are female and those young women are down there with small arms trying to hold off isis fighters along that line. i am not prepared to say that we should not be providing any military support for those kurds or for the iraqi forces any air support whatsoever. and that's what this resolution does. it didn't have to be this dire. well over a year ago when isis was building its force in the desert in syria it wasn't bombed and devastated when it could have been. it should have been. many called for an effort at that point to have an air campaign by the u.s. and our partners to pummel isis as it moved across the desert in these long columns and begin the process to take city after
city. it came out of syria and first it headed to fallujah and there was a call to use airpower to suppress and destroy isis then. that step was not taken and for 14 separate cities, city after city all the way to mosul we watched every time the request be made for airpower and that was turned down. well, we are where we are now and frankly the air campaign by the u.s. and our partners isn't pummeling the enemy now as it should. daily air strikes against the islamic state are 1/6 of what they were in the first campaign against the taliban back in 2001. u.s. special forces should be authorized to call in air strikes. most americans would be puzzled to learn the canadian special forces are doing this but we are not. pilots complain of having their hands tied. it has been estimated that 3/4 of u.s. aircraft return to base
without discharging their weapons because of overly restrictive rules of engagement that don't allow them to engage isis. as one observer notes with just piecemeal attacks, the administration has been systematically squandering our airpower advantage. i think that is right. and adding to the problem the regional forces on the ground that these air strikes are supposed to be supporting are badly undersupplied. after 10 months of fighting, there are still too many reports that kurdish our allies, are outgunned on the front lines against isis. i met with their foreign minister three times now as he's made this case. again, that 30% of his battalions, kurdish battalions are female battalions and they can't obtained the anti-tank weapons, the artillery, the mortars to use against isis in this battle.
while u.s. forces have been training some iraqis, that has been done way beyond the front lines and rather than pairing up with smaller units and deploying with them to push them to the front -- and that's, by the way a technique that's proven effective in afghanistan and iraq in the past -- it this has not been done. so u.s. advisors are unable to bolster iraqi units when they come under attack or to call in air strikes by u.s. planes. we don't have the capacity to do that, and that limitation tragically helped ramadi fall. mr. speaker, our friends and allies and partners in this region of the world are in serious trouble from the threat of isis. they need our help. employing our airpower like we should, getting those weapons to the front lines that are needed by the kurds putting
more u.s. special forces into play would help turn this around, but that's not at all what this measure calls for. as i say, it's quite the opposite. it calls for the president to remove united states armed forces deployed to iraq or syria on august 7 or after. the foreign affairs committee has held many hearings on isis and on the instability in the region. we haven't heard any witness make the case that complete withdrawal is what is needed. what would happen to iraq, what would happen to jordan what would happen to civilians in the theater? i think we can all agree that situation would compound. this is the question in front of us today. do we pull the modest number of
our modest presence out of this theater and see isis run wild across the iraqi desert with no help from the united states? i don't think so. there is no military-only answer to the isis challenge. the iraqi government must do far more to reconcile with sunnis, building confidence and empowering them to take on isis. isis must be attacked financially and its propaganda must be relentlessly challenged, and arab leaders need to lead. just as there is no military-only answer, there is no answer without a military component of helping the kurds and helping those who are fighting isis. and right now the u.s. role, as much as we may regret it, is needed desperately. mr. speaker, in the national security interest of the united states, i ask all members to oppose house concurrent resolution 55. thank you and i reserve the
balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in opposition to h.con.res 55, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: let me first say that i believe congress needs to do its job and pass an aumf, which is the authorization for the use of military force. we should have acted on this months ago, so this is the right message but with only the highest respect to my colleague from massachusetts, i believe that withdrawal by a date certain at this time is the wrong policy. this measure would direct the president to remove all u.s. armed forces deployed to iraq or syria since august 7 2014, except those needed to protect american diplomatic facilities and personnel. that's no way to defeat isis or to help the people of iraq and
syria. i cannot vote for a policy i do not support. however i share the frustration voiced by mr. mcgovern, ms. lee and many others. i've said time and time again that congress should pass a new aumf. we owe it to the american people. we should do our job and we owe it to our men and women in uniform. congressional inaction on an aumf is inexcusable. congress has had months to consider the president's language, and it's well past time we act. right now the administration is using the resolution we passed after september 11, 2001, as the legal justification to fight isis. this is deeply problematic. first of all, the 2001 aumf has none of the limits many of us are seeking. the american people have no stomach for another large-scale open-ended commitment of american troops in the middle east.
it was our disastrous intervention in iraq last decade that set the stage for the rise of isis in the first place. this is a new challenge, and we need new parameters to define our mission and our goals. at the same time using a 2001 authorization for a 2015 conflict sets a terrible precedent. what happens in five years when the next administration does the same thing and five years after that and five years after that? we didn't vote for perpetual war and we need a new aumf. so we cannot allow that outcome . with a new aumf, i hope it will be a bipartisan effort. i hope it will be the heal mark of our work on the foreign a-- hallmark of our work on the foreign affairs committee. i commend my friend, mr. mcgovern, for taking a stand on this issue and we are in agreement that the united states must avoid another failed open-ended war in the middle east. but there is a role for the
united states in this region and we should not just vote to withdrawal. i believe that would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. the united states supported the iraqis and the syrians who are fighting isis. it's a difficult fight but i don't think we can walk away. with american leadership we were able to prevent a wholesale slaughter of the azitty people. with american help, our iraqi partners were able to control the mosul dam which if breached by isis, could ended up in death and displacement of 200,000 people. with american assistance, the iraqi security forces and the moderate syrian opposition are taking back territory. too slowly but they're taking back territory, particularly in the south. the foreign affairs committee just had a hearing earlier this morning and we saw horrific
situations of children being gassed in syria. there's no good side in syria. we've got to somehow let the free syria army or the ribbles -- rebels the well-vetted moderate rebels, we have to help them and that's why i believe there's still a role for us to play. a withdrawal by turning our heads away because we're fed up and disgusted i think is not the right move. this fight's far from over and the united states has a critical role to play. we need an authorization that defines a role for the united states, a limited role, and that's the measure i will support. i again do want to thank mr. mcgovern for bringing this issue to the floor. he's a thoughtful, effective colleague. while i appreciate his resolution, i commend him for focusing this congress on this important issue. thank you, mr. speaker. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves.
the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of house concurrent resolution 55, which comes before the house today under the provisions of the war powers resolution. along with my colleagues walter jones and barbara lee we introduced this bipartisan bill to force a debate on how congress' failed to carry out its constitutional duty to authorize our military engagement in iraq and syria. last august the president authorized air strikes against the islamic state in iraq and syria. for over 10 months, the united states has been engaged in hostilities in iraq and syria without debating an authorization for this war. . on february 11 of this year, over four months ago, the president sent to congress the text for an authorization for the use of military force on combating the islamic state in iraq, syria and elsewhere. yet congress has failed to act
on that aumf. or bring an alternative to the house floor. even though we continue to authorize and appropriate money for sustained military operations in those countries. this is unacceptable. this house appears to have no problem sending our uniformed men and women into harm's way it. appears to have no problem -- way. it appears to have no problem spending billions of dollars for the arms equipment and air power to carry out these wars but it can't step up to the plate and take responsibility for these wars. our service men and women are brave and dedicated. congress, however, is guilty of moral cowardess. the republican leadership of this house wines and complains from the sidelines -- whines and complains from the sidelines and shirks its constitutional duties to bring an aumf to the floor of this house, debate it and vote on it. this resolution requires the president to withdraw u.s. troops from iraq and syria within 30 days or no later than the end of this year, december 31 2015, if this house
approvings this resolution, congress would still have six months in which to do the right thing and bring an aumf before the house and senate for debate and action. six months. either congress needs to live up to its responsibilities and authorize this war, or by its continuing neglect and indifference, our troops should be withdrawn and come home. it's that simple. two weeks ago general john allen, the u.s. envoy for the u.s.-led coalition fighting isil said that this fight may take, and i quote, a generation or more, end quote. and according to the pentagon, we have spent more than $2.74 billion in the fight against the islamic state. that's roughly $9.1 million each and every day. we have approximately 3,500 boots on the ground and that number is rising. if we're going to invest -- if we're going to invest a generation or more of our blood and our treasure in this war,
and if we're going to continue to tell our armed forces that we expect them to fight and die in these wars, it seems to me the least we can do is stand up and vote to authorize these wars. or we should end them. we owe that to the american people. we owe that to our troops and their families. and we owe that to the oath of office that each of us took to uphold the constitution of the united states. mr. speaker we're going to hear all kinds of crazy today about this resolution. some members will say that it demands the withdrawal of our troops in 30 days. well, that's true if you only read half a sentence in the bill. the other half makes clear that the president has until the end of the year to withdraw our troops. some members will claim that this resolution will undercut our troops while they are carrying out bombing campaigns and training iraqi and syrian soldiers under dangerous conditions. they will claim it will deny the iraqis and the kurds our critical support in fighting against the brutal terror and
threat of isis. they will claim that it leaves isis unchecked by u.s. air power and allows them to overrun the region. mr. speaker, the truth is that it is precisely these threats and these challenges that make this debate so urgent. with such compelling issues at hand, how can congress stand by and do nothing? how can congress not have this debate and vote on an authorization for this war? by setting a clear deadline, congress cannot -- deadline congress cannot ignore, this resolution provides a strong guarantee that congress will finally do its job. that congress will honor its duty to our troops and all americans, by debating and voting on an authorization for this war. our troops deserve a congress that has the courage to stand with them. i see the courage and sacrifice of our uniformed men and women. but i see nothing but cowardess from this leadership in this house. if they believe we should send our military forces to iraq and syria to fight isis and
possibly die over there then we should do our duty. we should do our job and bring an aumf to the house floor, debate it and take some responsibility for this war. that's all this resolution is trying to do. give the leadership of this house a deadline that even they can't ignore. either an aumf -- either enact an aumf over the next six months or withdraw our forces from iraq and syria. one or the other. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. royce: before recognizing the gentlewoman from missouri, i yield myself two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. royce: again, the resolution before us today has nothing to do with an authorization for the use of military force. it is a withdrawal resolution. so i don't want to leave some of the oversimplified authorization use of military force rhetoric here
unaddressed. the real question that the proponents are begging, what should the united states be doing to combat isis? the answer of today's resolution would be nothing. we should withdraw from combating the isis threat. that would be irresponsible and dangerous. i don't disagree that the current state of the legal authorities the president is using against isis is less than ideal from our constitution's perspective. but that -- institution's perspective. but that does not equal illegal and unconstitutional. i say this as someone who is deeply concerned about the president's weak and unstrategic response to the isis threat. the president has short circuited this debate by claiming complete authority under prior statutes to use our armed forces against isis. his administration has made the case that isis, which was previously known as al qaeda in iraq, quote has been an enemy
of the united states within the scope of the 2001 authorization continuously since at least 2004 unquote. he's made that case that isis grew out of al qaeda in iraq and in point of fact, that is where -- and, in point of fact, that's where isis came from. no aumf we could draft could give the president more operational authority than he already claims. indeed, the draft text he sent asks us to constrain the authority that he already has and complicated, by the way, the offer to reach consensus. just last week this body considered a defense appropriations amendment that would have used congress' -- i'm going to ask for an additional two minutes. thank you mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: that thank would have used congress' -- that would have used congress' constitutional power of the
purse to force the aumf issue. cutting off funding if congress does not enact an isis-specific aumf within the next year. that proposal failed in this institution. so the reality is that congress has made decisions that amount to a practical view disagreeing with the authors of this resolution, allowing the president to use current force authorities against isis is preferable to refusing to confront the threat isis poses to our national security altogether. now, i'll continue to work with ranking member eliot engel and all of our colleagues to see if we can find a way forward on a revise and updated authorization focused on the vicious and growing threat posed by isil. by isis. that is what we need to be working on together. but merely acting without a
credible way forward is foolhardy, it's not brave, it's foolhardy. a divisive and unsuccessful aumf process would be perceived by our allies, our partners and our enemies as a no-confidence vote in the fight against isis, resulting in a significant blow to the national security of the united states. now allow me, mr. speaker, to yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from missouri mrs. hartzler, who chairs the armed services subcommittee on oversight and investigations. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from missouri is recognized for two minutes. mrs. hartzler: thank you, thank you mr. chairman. while i respect my colleague who offered this amendment, i oppose this resolution and urge my colleagues to vote in opposition. this unwise resolution will call for the unilateral withdrawal of u.s. forces from the fight against isil and leave this growing evil to continue to expand, terrorizing
millions. this resolution would do more than halt all u.s. strikes against the terrorist group in iraq and syria, removing the approximately 3,500 u.s. trainers from iraq it. would unwisely deny -- iraq. it would unwisely deny the support to fight against the brutal and barbaric terrorist group leaving -- group, leaving them alone to stop this threat. this resolution would leave isil unchecked by u.s. air power allow the vicious terrorist group to gain strength further destabilizing the region by threatening allies such as jordan, and create a largely uncontested safe haven for which isil could plot attacks against the united states. it would allow the continued brutality of a group who beheads innocents, including americans, forces women and children into sexual slavery destroys religious heritage sites and targets christians and others. this resolution has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against isil. instead this resolution simply
unilaterally withdraws our u.s. forces from fighting back against this evil. i urge opposition to this resolution. thank you mr. chairman, i yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you mr. speaker. let me again say that what we have here, as well intentioned as i know it is is a unilateral withdrawal, clean and simple. i understand the frustration but this is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. i think we need to be very, very careful before we do these things unilaterally. it's my pleasure to now call on mr. connolly of virginia for four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. connolly: i thank the speaker and i thank my good friend, eliot engel from new york, the distinguished ranking
member, the full committee of the foreign affairs committee, and my friend, ed royce, the chairman of that full committee, both distinguished men. and i echo theirentment ises -- their sentiments. mr. speaker, i rise -- their sentiments. mr. speaker, i rise today in reluctant opposition to the measure offered by mr. mcgovern, who's sincerity can never be questioned in this body. i understand the purpose underlying this legislation. and i identify with the frustration that it expresses as i think do all of us. pro ponalts of the measure want -- proponents of the measure want congress to debate and vote on the use of military force in iraq and syria and so do i. proponents of this measure believe that congress has failed to perform its constitutional duty by not taking up the authorization of the use of military force against the islamic state of iraq and the levant. so you do i -- so do i. in fact i believe the failure to debate an aumf against isil
is a continuation of a sad but 60-year pattern of congress abrogating one of its most fundamental constitutional roles and responsibilities. for an institution that constantly laments its subjugation at the hands of the executive branch, its repeat from its constitutional duty on this order is jaw-dropping. it's time congress make clear the circumstances and parameters under which we would once again authorize engagement for our and by our men and women in uniform in this tumultuous region of the world, or for that matter anywhere. but one cannot endorse the tactic of this measure. this is constructed to be a something that threaten us -- to be something that threatens us, congress, with the
automatic withdrawal of our forces in the region in order to force congressional action with an aumf. congress should not heed such a message, nor should it kater to such a -- cater to such a sword hanging over our head in order to do our jobs. a mission with no clear mandate and conflicting objectives is hardly a formula for military or political victory. and we should welcome a robust and transparent debate on the matter of an aumf, but not at any cost on the battlefield itself. a withdrawal, as this resolution does mandated irrespective of battlefield reality, battlefield progress lately against isis a withdrawal mandated irrespective of our commitments to the kurds, or for that matter, to the iraqi government itself, that would be irresponsible and unworthy of a great power however noble the underlying cause is.
we have responsibilities on the ground. this resolution is drafted, as they say in latin, all other things being equal that is to say, in a perfect world. we don't live in a perfect world. our engagements are what they are. our commitments are what they are. and i don't share the distinguished chairman's criticism of this administration. it's a americay region to begin with -- murky region to begin with. our leverage is limited, our choices are dark and complicated. but we are making progress in the region as we speak. to simply ignore all of that and insist we withdraw, in my view would be irresponsible and unworthy of this great nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. . mr. mcgovern: this resolution that we are debating today would have no standing.
and i guess my question is, what do we have to do? what do members of this house both democrats and republicans have to do to force the leadership to bring to the floor an aumf so we can do our job. that's all we are asking for and this is a blunt instrument to do it, but i don't know what else it will take to force this issue. we owe it to our servicemen and women to have this debate and this vote. i yield three minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. jones: i thank mr. mcgovern for the time. as many people have said today even those for and against the resolution, we have a constitutional duty, that duty is to debate. so i want to quote james madison, to put the context on what we are trying to say today. the power to declare war including debating the causes of
war is vested in the legislature. not the executive branch, but the legislature. the frustration that we have felt goes back to august of 2014 when jim mcgovern and barbara lee and walter jones wrote asking the speaker of the house to allow us to have a debate. that's why mr. mcgovern, bar ra lee and i have put this resolution in today. we wouldn't be talking about the middle east if it weren't for this resolution. in september i sent my own letter to speaker boehner and asked for a full debate on authorization to use military force in the region, none of these letters have been answered, none of them. last september speaker boehner told the "new york times" that he wanted to wait until 2015 to bring an aumf to the floor of
the house for a debate and vote to avoid bringing it up during a lame duck session. ok. i can accept that. it makes good sense. in december, speaker boehner said the house republicans would work with the president to get a aumf request if the president sent one to congress. he did send us one in february. most people, democrat and republican didn't like what was in the aumf, at least it was a vehicle for debate. but then in february, when the speaker of the house received it he didn't do anything with it. nothing has happened. as has been said by speakers before me, last month, jim mcgovern and barbara lee sent another letter asking for a debate. nothing happened. that's the reason this resolution is on the floor. it's because, as madison said
house, do your job. he didn't say executive branch, do your job. he said the legislative branch. that is us. we need to do this on behalf of the constitution and on behalf of our young men and women in uniform who will give their life for their country. it has been 314 days since president obama started launching air strikes and putting troops in iraq and syria without authorization by congress. according to the pentagon, we have spent $9 million a day for a total of $2.7 billion. isn't this another reason that we should be debating the middle east and our role in the middle east? i think so. let me repeat james madison. the power to declare war including the power of judging the causes of war -- may i have half a minute.
gomb mr. mcgovern: i yield 30 seconds. mr. jones: i would like to say i bring these pictures to the floor of those who give their life for this country. this is a flag-draped coffin being pulled off of a transport plane in dover, delaware, and it is time we meet our obligation and debate this issue of war because we are not doing our job and owe it to the american people and to the constitution and to those who wear the uniform. i thank you, mr. mcgovern for the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield two minutes to mr.|wilson a member of the committee on foreign affairs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. wilson: thank you for your leadership. i'm opposed to the house
concurrent resolution which would withdraw forces who have provided regional stability to protect american families. this resolution would undermine america's campaign to fight terrorists overseas and end our campaign and stop our training and equipping of the tribal forces as well as moderate syrian opposition forces and abandon our commitment to the partners in the region. the resolution would promote isil's momentum and create safe havens for terrorists and create tehran's influence that declares death to america, death to israel. it would allow there would be a greater threat to american families with attacks from new york to boston and creating safe havens to enable more attacks. we must remember september 11. unilateral withdrawal will not
stop the war. the resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in iraq or syria or the recommendations to the joint chiefs of staff. this morning, chairman martin dempsey said withdrawing the troops would be a mistake. as the grateful dead of two sons who have served in iraq, i would prefer a clear strategy of victory. we should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. i want to work with members to develop a better approach and my hope it will accomplish this. the only course of action to take steps jihadist extremists overseas. i'm opposed to the house concurrent resolution and urge my colleagues to vote against it . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker it's now my pleasure to
yield three minutes to a rising star on the foreign affairs committee, mr. boil of pennsylvania. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. boyle: i thank the chair and ranking member and i want to sponsor the author of this resolution, mr. mcgovern. thanks to him, we finally have a chance to discuss and debate this issue right here on the house floor. before i entered this body when i was a state legislator and a candidate, i noticed back last august september as the isis movement was growing in iraq and syria and other parts of the middle east, the british parallelment rushed back to london to debate a war resolution. i was disappointed as an
american citizen and quite frankly shocked that the united states congress did not do exactly the same thing. to come here and outline and debate the parameters by which we would authorize the president to wage war against this evil and barbaric threat. unfortunately, that did not happen. several months ago, i think it might have been back in january, president obama did submit to the foreign affairs committee of which i'm proudly a member, an authorization to use military force. unfortunately, that aumf got attacked by some on the right as insufficient in some areas and got attacked by some on the left as insufficient in other areas. both sides have legitimate discussions and concerns. what went wrong after that is that we didn't have that
discussion or debate right here on the house floor. it was too easy for members of this body to just say, this was too difficult. we're going to let the president handle it and we're going to shirk our responsibility. that is wrong. mr. speaker, i do not support -- let me be clear the resolution that's in front of us and will not be voting for it. i think an outright withdrawal of troops within the next six weeks would be a terrible mistake and that's not the approach we should take. i do believe it's about time we do our duty and responsibility and have this discussion and debate. it is about time we the congress of the united states, on a bipartisan basis come up with an actionable plan to fight and defeat isis, one that is consistent with our values and at the same time one that does not inadvertently commit us to five and 10 years down the road responsibilities that we do not
envision today. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel who believes congress ought to do its job and pass the aumf. mr. rangel: ask unanimous consent to revise and stepped my remarks. mr. mcgovern, mr. jones ms. lee, i thought the house would be screaming at the opportunity to justify sending men and women to a different part of the world that we believe is of danger to the entire community. i'm so amazed that people are saying that this resolution calls for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. i don't read it that way. because i don't know of anything
that justifies them being there and this could be screaming for a reason why the administration and members of congress want these troops there. i have no clue as to why people believe that these people have been fighting each other for thousands of years is a threat to my nation's national security. i don't know of any of my constituents that goes to sleep at night worried about isis invading their community. i do know because i'm old enough to remember that when the japanese struck pearl harbor immediately president roosevelt called the congress to declare war and america with pride, came out to support our nation and our president. now, i don't see the connection
between isis and being struck by japanese and germans, but i know one thing, when an american dice when they lose their lives, when we send them overseas, when they come back wounded, we have an obligation and this body to justify why we've done it. i may be wrong, but the reason i think we run away from this responsibility is because we don't really feel the pain of the people we're sending all over the world and exposing them to losing their lives. and why don't we feel it? don't we say thank you for your service? do we thank the people who don't come back? do we explain and go to the funerals that i go to, as to why
we're there? to explain if the president of the united states and the members of this house believe it's important for them to be here. all you have to do is come here declare war or justify why the security of the united states is being threatened. and i then will be prepared to send somebody else's kids to fight this war to protect the rest of our country. we don't have a draft. i ask for an additional 30 seconds. mr. mcgovern: yield 30 seconds. mr. rangel: i conclude by saying that when issues are serious enough for us to draft other people's kids, when it is serious enough for us to say that we aren't going to borrow money from communist china to pay for these wars, then i can be convinced even if i
disagree, that when this congress and this president believes my country's being threatened, you count me in. until such time, we're waiting to hear about the threat to our national security so that we -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves and the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. zeldin. mr. zeldin: only in congress do you have a resolution to authorizize the use of force because you want to authorize the use of force. it is it's pretty insulting that you'd propose a resolution to withdraw
troops and then accuse the other side of cowardice. there needs to be more of a strategy to defeat isis or lack thereof. we have a duty here in congress to set up our troops to succeed, not fail. there has been a lot of debate with regard to the authorization and use of military force. i'm proud to serve on the foreign affairs committee. chairman royce has had multiple hearings, discussing the authorization for the use of military force. secretary kerry was before the committee, he was asked, is this authorization -- does this authorization authorize offensive action? he said no. there was a five paragraph letter since with the authorization request talking about the need to use special operations forces and we can't get a straight answer from this administration as to whether or not he's referring to ours. yes, we have a duty to set up our troops to succeed and not fail. we had a marine general in front of the foreign affairs committee.
when asked whether or not our general in charge of our troops overseas in iraq that general has the ability to authorize the mission to take out abu bauk or abu ghadi, he had a paragraph that said the yen can make a recommendation. what's further insulting is just how many people don't even know the name of that two-star general. not only does he not have the flexibility and resources he needs to accomplish the mission, from the administration that is in charge right now led by the command for the chief, my constituents, americans, don't even know that gentleman's name. yes, there has been a lot of debate. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. zell din: we have a need to -- mr. zeldin: we have a need to protect our troops. that's why i support this. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. engel: i agree that congress should do its job and pass a new aumf. the question is, is this the best way to do it? we ought to pass the right aumf not just any aumf. we're told that we should force the issue. i had a friend who used to say be careful what you wish for. if we pass this resolution, it's more than possible that republican leadership will force through language that we on this side of the aisle cannot accept something that does not have the limits the democrats are seeking or worse, would just ratify the administration's argument that the 2001 aumf applies to isil. we need to pass an aumf i agree, but we need to pass the right aumf, even if that means we can't do it within six months. i hope we can get together and do that and we should. that's why i think this debate is good. but i think passing any aumf is like buying a anything a poke and i'm not ready to go down that line.
i reserve the rest of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, we should have passed an aumf before we get into this -- got into this latest war. we've been at it for 10 month. we're asking congress to do its job in the next six months. how much longer do we want? with that, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. massie. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognize for two minutes. mr. massie: i thank the gentleman from massachusetts. i think some words from james madison are instructive to this debate. he said, in no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature and not to the executive department. because the objection of such a mixture of heterogenerals you powers, the trust would be too great for any one man. in war, a physical force is to be created and it is the
executive which is to direct it. in war, the public treasures are to be unlocked and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. hence it has grown into an axiom that the executive is the department of power most distinguished by its propensity to war. hence it is the practice of all states in proportion as they are free to disarm that propensity of its influence. that was a warning that he gave us and unfortunately, after being in this conflict for several years without an authorization from congress, we have devolved into the distaupian condition that he warned us about. i don't think anybody in this body seeks to weaken our powers or give them to the president. what we're debating here is when to have the authorization for use of military force or declaration of war. the time to have that was two years ago. years ago, before the president acted. and so to the people who are
against this resolution i say, you could be right. you might be right. if this resolution fails, i hope you're right that this resolution wasn't necessary. and we do assert our constitutional prerogative, our responsibility and have that debate and therefore instruct the president on the reasons for this engagement. and what his directives are. and so, with that, i just want to remind my colleagues this is a strategy, this is a tactic, a parliamentary tactic that's necessary to force the debate and let's have the debate. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, judge poe, chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. poe: i thank the chairman for the time. i, like the author of this
resolution, am concerned about our troops that have been in iraq and afghanistan for a long time. in my office, i have photographs of the 37 texans that have been killed in iraq or afghanistan. of all races. both sexes. all branches of the service. here we are years later, we're still there. but i'm also concerned about this group of isis. the question is, is isis a national security threat to the united states? i believe that it is. they are doing things to other people that we haven't seen in world history since the barbarians. and they are doing things much worse than that. isis wants to establish a call fat in the middle east. it wants to kill us in the united states. they've made that clear. and if isis is a national
security threat to the u.s., which i believe it is, then let's have a plan to defeat them. a plan now. why are we waiting years to make this decision? have the debate on the house floor. national security threat, yes, go after them. if not, then do something else. meanwhile, people, -- meanwhile people of all nations are dying. you know, i believe that isis will continue as long as there's not someone to stop them. it's in our national security interest to defeat them. the united states need to have a plan. people are dying from all nations. we need to make a decision. we need to make a decision as soon as possible. and we need to pick a horse and ride it and we need to do it as well. but this issue, this bill, is not the answer to do that. that weakens us, it weakens our
national security to pass this legislation. i oppose it. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expyred. the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from florida ms. fran tell. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. frankel: thank you, mr. engel. mr. speaker, this debate is personal to me. i watched my son ben a proud united states marine, sent off to two wars. afghanistan and iraq. my family was blessed. he returned safely. both sides of the aisle know the battle, the price of the battle. too many killed, too many deeply scarred, too many lives of loved ones disrupted. trillions of dollars spent. the reputation of our country at stake. sometimes for good reasons, and
sometimes in tragic error. and i will agree with those who say that when terror strikes in the world it is our concern and it does require our leadership. and there are times that we must risk brave lives to save many more. but with that said, when i came to washington i vowed not to send anyone else's son or daughter in harm's way unless i understood the mission and the end game too. we owe this to all our children and that is why i urge my colleagues to take the time to deliberate and debate on the use of force against the terrorists who threaten the security of our country and our allies. congress has no greater responsibility. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman -- the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from new york
reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. garamendi: mr. speaker, article 1, section 8 of the united states constitution is clear. congress alone shall have the power to declare war and make no mistake, the current campaign against isis is a war. mr. speaker, our esteemed colleague from texas made a very cogent argument about why we need clarity. the inability to have a clear plan is based upon the fact that congress has not yet articulated an authorization to use force that would lay out the parameters and the extent of what we would expect the president to do. now the president says he's -- he has the authorization under the 2001 and 2002. ambiguity clearly, is present. i disagree with the president on those as an authorization.
i've argued for more than 10 months that our military operations against isis need their own authorization. the president did his part he, submitted a draft to us in february. since then, we've had a few committee hearings but no real action. leadership in both houses of the senate, both houses have refused to schedule votes on this issue either in committee or on the floor. that is unacceptable. we've already run up significant costs 2. -- $2.7 billion on operations to continue the fight against isis and i-- in iraq and syria. and we've begun delivering $1.7 billion of weapons. more importantly, we've lost seven service members already. this chas -- this has to change. this resolution is to force us, the congress, to uphold our constitutional duty to debate and vote on the authorization for the use of force in iraq and syria and i have no doubt that if this resolution passes, an appropriate authorization to use force will be passed and will
have claire -- and we'll have clarity as to the scope and conduct of this war. i thank my colleagues for introducing this resolution and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield one minute to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. holding: i want to thank the chairman for the time. mr. speaker, i rise to oppose the resolution in front of us today. if passed, the pressure we, the united states, have been able to apply against isis would be stopped and our allies in the region would be left out in the cold. there's no doubt about the true wickedness of isis in both iraq and syria. their twisted views and thirst for blood have spread instability in the middle east leaving a wake of destruction. the united states along with our partners have struggled to beat back isis' advances and the
adoption of this resolution would effectively end our operations against isis, thus creating a direct threat to our national security and our interests. mr. speaker this resolution is misguided and unwise and i urge my colleagues to oppose it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina yields. the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: it's my pleasure to yield three minutes to the gentleman from rhode island, mr. cicilline. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from rhode island is recognized for three minutes. mr. cicilline: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the resolution brought to the floor by my colleague mr. mcgovern. no one disputes the horrific nature of the activities that are being described today and the sickening violence in this region of the world no one disputes they must be defeated. the question is, what is the best strategy to defeat them and what authorization is required to accomplish this objective?
this is exactly the purpose of a full, thoughtful debate on the use of military force. my constituents expect congress to do its job. and we have failed for four months to act on the president's draft for the authorization of the use of military force. there is no more serious duty that we have than the declaration of war. i thank my friend from massachusetts for taking an action intended to force the house to perform institutional responsibility and debate the use of mill fair -- military force in iraq and syria. this resolution this resolution will force the house to do what it has failed to do. over the past 14 years the united states has lost heroes. mr. speaker, i'm deeply concerned about the possibility that we could continue to commit more brave american men and women in uniform to a conflict
without considering, seriously debating and properly authorizing that use of military force. allowing this action to continue without a real public debate is failing our most solemn responsibility as members of congress. this is the only way that we will develop and implement a successful strategy, a rigorous debate in full public view. we absolutely must ensure that any additional involvement in any way has clearly defined goals and objectives, is properly limited in scope is fully explained to and supported by the american people. that is what mr. mcgovern's resolution attempts to do, to force this house over the next several months to undertake its constitutional responsibility to debate, to carefully consider and to ultimately authorize the use of military force. we should not shirk this
responsibility. i thank the gentleman from massachusetts for giving us the opportunity to make our voices heard and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield one minute to the gentlelady from texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i ask unanimous consent to dress the house for one minute, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. jackson lee: this hour, this minute, this second ace actually a gift to the american people. i thank the proponents of this resolution because it recognizes first and above all that this little document the constitution, albeit small creates mountains of responsibility on behalf of the american people. this moment, this minute, this second we are giving the american people their due and their respect, and that is to
acknowledge that there must be a full debate on sending our treasure continuously to iraq and syria. there is no divide between us on the vialness of isis and the terrorist groups and the willingness of american people to be sympathetic and helping the iraqis and syrians and those who are suffering and bleeding. but after 6,000 wounded, hundreds who have been killed, particularly in my state, and thousands more across the nation, that we have to find the pathway where all of us know what we're doing. this is an important resolution. we need to to debate it and our soldiers need to be protected and ultimately brought home. i yield back. mr. royce: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from illinois who served in the us air force
in iraq and afghanistan and calling for air strikes against isis. mr. kinzinger: i thank the chairman for his leadership on this issue for the long time that we have been having to deal with this. i'm surprised -- we watch the news and see what's happening overseas and from afar and see the human tragedy that's occurring and we are here debating a resolution to withdraw all military actions from the middle east at a time when we see utter human tragedies. this is not the time to halt military operations. i would like to speak out quickly on an issue that underlines this whole debate. there are some that believe that if our foreign policy was simply nicer, if our foreign policy was more accommodating and less focused on military power then our enemies would view america in a much different light or we
would be facing problems that we are today, or we wouldn't be facing them at all. this is disengagement in the world and represents at best a naive world view and it is certainly an illusion. as we debate the merits of this resolution we have a case study in the disengagement. president went against a red line in syria and he was able to exit and allow assad give up his chemical weapons. when we saw that engagement by the united states, we didn't see a peaceful assad emerge. we saw the same brutal dictator that murdered his own people and continue to be brutal and murdersome. before we withdrew troops completely from iraq, many implord the president to leave a
force and we didn't do it. and we have the next generation of al qaeda named isis. but this is what we see. i think it is fine to have a debate about aumf in this chamber and we should. what the president gave us was an aumf and limited the ability of the next president of the united states to fight and destroy isis and i won't be a party to tying the president's hands. you know, i was in iraq just a few months ago and i saw the human tragedy that occurred. and stood in a refugee camp and a little girl explained to me how her parents were killed by isis and she ran away. and i realize the important role that the united states plays. the unfortunate burden we must bear for world security. mr. speaker, we either stand up and fight isis now or we sit on
our knees and cower. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, senior member of the foreign affairs committee mr. brad sherman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. mr. sherman: i thank the gentleman for yielding. it is unacceptable that we have not debated in committee and on the floor of this house an aumf and a foreign policy designed to fit current circumstances. designed to fit an assad that has killed nearly 200,000 of his own people designed to fit isis, which either is or isn't a part or a former part of al qaeda. instead, we operate under a
resolution passed in the wake of the attacks in 2001. but the resolution before us, i do not think, is the answer to the fact that congress is not debating a new aumf. the reason i rise to oppose it is because i urge members to read it. it says that all forces must be withdrawn in 30 days unless there is some threat to their security. 30 days. it says that it ends all deployment but it's not clear how it applies to air force operations or naval air operations presumably, we would stop all bombing under all circumstances. how does it apply to the -- to the rights of the president under current law to deploy our
forces for 60 to 90 days if there is further outrage from the assad regime? we need a new resolution that is -- that does congress' best job to deal with the circumstances. what we don't need is the idea of blaming obama for everything constitutes a foreign policy strategy. it is the bush administration that left -- that stalled and left malaki in power. it is malaki that would not allow a resideal force. would we have gone to war if he expelled our forces? i have yet to hear that being blamed by the blame obama side. we cannot leave our troops in a country.
the great problem with iraq today is what malaki did to that country and the person who installed malaki was the former president of the united states, president george w. bush. so i look first to the defeat of this resolution. but second, to consideration of a new aumf that focuses on whether we will do anything about assad or only go after isis whether we will use ground forces, which i oppose or just use our air forces. that debate needs to start in our committee. but this resolution is not an answer. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: the president -- the troops don't have to be withdrawn for six months and the point of this resolution is to force this house to do its job
and pass an aumf. if my colleagues are so upset that we haven't debated or voted on an aumf, because you have to -- congress do its job. i yield to mr. o'rourke. mr. o'rourke: this is the best way to support our service meals and families, and this is to ensure that we have a strategy with defined, achievable goals when we are going to put their lives on the line. and today, i don't know that we have that. do we have a partner in iraq that has the will to fight. do we have the resources necessary across two different battlefields in iraq and syria
to achieve the president's goal of degrading defeating and destroying isis? do we have a strategy that's worthy of the loss of even one american service member's life? i think all of those questions are worthy of discussion and debate, a debate that would hopefully lead to an intelligent use of military force with that defined strategy. this is our way of supporting soldiers and their families and a way that the american people can hold us accountable by making the most important decision that a member of congress can, and that is to put a service member in harm's way. source the judgment and wisdom of the people we represent. if we have that debate and have that vote, will go back to our community and talk to the parents of future service members whose children's lives will be put on the line. i think that is the minimum responsibility we must meet. and i wish an aumf was brought
to the floor. but today, this is the only way to get there. for that reason, i will support this. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from indiana, a member of the armed services and the veteran affairs committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. walorski: i came from a meeting with the secretary of defense and chairman of joint chiefs both agreed that under no circumstance should this house consider this resolution at this time, which is conceivably an immediate withdrawal of our troops from iraq and syria. this causes and they discuss, and immediate risk to our allies and our homeland. we would not be debating this issue if the commander in chief
had articulated to the american people. we would not be debating this. but even so mr. chairman, this is dangerous for america, and this is not the way to go on a plan for immediate withdrawal with our allies and with our homeland being at risk. the world's watching today. the world has watched for the last several years of our lack of a foreign policy plan, but today the world is watching to see if this u.s. house is going to stand together in a bipartisan manner and we ject this resolution and stand together for the safety that we were sworn to stand together and uphold which is the safety of the united states of america. and i ask my colleagues to reject this resolution. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from indiana yields. the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i again yield to mr. sherman of california one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute.
mr. sherman: i don't want to characterize the resolution. i want to read it. it requires the president of the united states to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities and no later than the period 30 days, 30 days deping on the date when this concurrent resolution is adopted. that applies to our naval and air forces. and then goes on to say if the president determines it is not safe to remove forces, he could have an additional period up to the end of this year. that assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period. our forces are mobile and capable and currently behind the front lines and can indeed leave within 30 days. clause 2 is politicable to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. our military is neither. clause one, 30 days beginning
on the date when the concurrent resolution is adopted. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back, the gentleman reserves, the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i urge my colleagues to read the resolution, it gives the president through the end of the year if he so chooses, that's what it says. and i would hope that in six months we could come together and pass an aumf. i would hope that all my colleagues who are complaining theer -- that we don't have an aumf would come together and to something. because it hasn't happened in the first 0 months. we can point fingers all we want but it's not getting done. this is a way to force congress to do its job. it's that simple. this is not about walking away from the conflict in the middle east. this is about making sure that the men and women who serve in the united states congress live up to our constitutional
responsibilities and do our job. i'm sorry that so many people think that's a radical idea but we haven't done our job and i think it's a disservice to the men and women who serve on our armed forces and it's a disservice to our members of congress. with that i yield two minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. nolan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. nolan: mr. speaker members of the house one of the great failures of this congress in our time has been the abdication of our responsibility which could not be more clearly defined by our founders for declarations of war. and subsequently resolutions authorizing the use of force. clearly, the time is long overdue for this congress to
step up and assume its responsibility for these declarations these seemingly endless wars of choice that are so costly in blood and in treasury. it's time that this congress step up and have that debate on whether or not it is in our interest to continue our involvement in these wars. we need to be presented with a rationale. we need to be presented with a strategy, or in fact it is time to put an end to them and to bring our troops home. mr. speaker, my fellow colleagues, we owe it to our taxpayers, who have spent trillions of dollars in these ventures, we owe it to our founders who knew and understand the importance of having the congress make these decisions, not executives and we owe it to our troops.
it's time to have that resolution debated and decided here or to bring the troops home mr. speaker. and as judge poe would say, and that's the way it is. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota yields. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: mr. speaker, i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i'd like to yield five minutes to the gentlewoman from california, one of the co-authors of this resolution, ms. lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. lee: thank you very much. let me first thank congressman mcgovern for yielding and for your tireless efforts and leadership. also i'm proud to join with congressman walter jones and mr.
mcgovern on this bipartisan resolution. this resolution calls only for the withdrawal of u.s. armed forces from iraq and syria only by the end of the year absent of passage of an authorization for the use of military force against isis. however this resolution is also about reclaiming a fundamental constitutional responsibility. the constitutionally protected right of congress to debate and determine whether and when this country enters into war. now for the last 10 months, our nation has been fighting yet another war in the middle east. a war that congress has yet authorized or even de-- yet to authorize or even debate. we have been patient. we have given the house leadership plenty of time to develop a strategy to bring up an authorization. when this war again, congressman mcgovern and i began -- wrote asking for a debate and vote. nothing happened.
then they said the president had to send an authorization to the house. the president did just that and nothing happened. 10 months since the war began, we've had no real debate and certainly no vote. this is outrageous. let me be clear what we're trying to do with this resolution, this is not about making a political point. this is about forcing congress to take up an authorization for the use of military force by the end of the year to follow through on its constitutional responsibility. it's about making us do our job. it's unfortunate that we have to do that. the timeline included in this bill gives the leadership of the house six months to bring forward an aumf but the clock is ticking. this last week the president announced he authorized the department of 450 more american troops to train and assist iraqi forces in the fight against isis. members this is textbook mission creep. mr. speaker, we're here to say, enough is enough. after more than a decade of wars in the middle east thousands of
u.s. lives and billions of dollars lost, the need for congress to reclaim its war making powers is more critical than ever. members of congress are sent to washington, d.c. to make hard decisions. but in the case of war, congress instead has chosen to duck its responsibilities and let me just say, the 2001 authorization for the use of military force which is a blank check for endless wars has been cited as the authorization for the ongoing war against isis. that's why of course i voted against it 14 years ago and have introduced legislation every congress to repeal this blank check for endless war. keeping this authorization on the book indefinitely without repealing or repolice station it has allowed congress to avoid its constitutional responsibility to bring up an authorization against isis. from what i remember, we only had one hour of debate in 2001. at least mr. mcgovern we have two hours to debate whether or not to debate an authorization to use force.
congress must have a role in how we do our work. and what we're required to do. and that's exactly what this resolution is about. many of us agree that a robust debate and a vote is necessary, long overdue and must take place. during the full committee markup last week of the appropriations bill the defense approach, i offered a sense of congress amendment that simply reaffirmed that congress has a constitutional debate, duty to debate and determine whether or not to authorize the use of military force against isis. this amendment was adopted with the support of six republicans on the committee. while we may all not agree on what an aumf should look like. we know there's bipartisan agreement around the need for congress to debate on a specific aumf. we need to do our job. we know full well there's no military solution in iraq or syria for that matter that any lasting solution must be settled in the region among warring
factions. the american people deserve to know the cost and consequences of this new war and members of congress should represent their constituents by saying yes or no. this resolution is a procedural mechanism, it's unfortunate, again, we have to do this to make us live up to our constitutional job and duty in the matters of war and peace. we need to vote yes on this resolution. it's simple, it's bipartisan, it just requires taos do our jobs, to exercise our constitutional responsibilities. enough is enough. we cannot allow the american people vf no voice in what is said and what is being done with their taxpayer dollars. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california yields. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul, chairman of the committee on -- mccall, chairman of the committee on homeland security. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. mccal: the resolution before us today -- mr. mccaul: the resolution before us today is dangerous and should be defeated. for months we have been at war against isis. today the secretary of defense testified that, quote, isis is a threat to the homeland because of its avowed intentions to strike and recruit in this country. isis will be dealt a lasting defeat, end of quote. but this president does not have a strategy to accomplish this. we continue to fight the terrorists with one hand tied behind our back. the only thing worse would be to disengage completely which is exactly what this resolution would do. i recently led a bipartisan delegation to the middle east where i visited iraq. ground zero in the fight against isis, a week before ramadi was
overtaken by isis. i spoke with prime minister abadi. unfortunately, the current strategy in my opinion, relies too heavily on the shia militia as a proxy of iranen to defeat isis. we now have over 3,000 american servicemens there to advise and assist the iraqi national military but the president has restricted our ability to take the fight to the enemy because he's more committed to his campaign pledge to end the wars mt. middle east than he is to ending isis. the president has in fact made the situation more dangerous. his failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement and the complete failure of prime minister malaki to govern effectively created the vacuum that isis now fills. in syria the civil war continues to rage. there, too isis has fill the void. islamic fa that the -- fanatics from over 100 countries have traveled overseas to fight with
groups like isis. thousands of these jihaddists carry western passports and can exploit security gaps to return to the west and the homeland where they plot attacks against the united states. meanwhile, iran is actively engaged in both iraq and syria, embedding shia fighters in sue communities in iraq and doing assad's bidding in syria. prime minister netanyahu told our delluation that iran and isis are competing for the crown of militant islam. this resolution would ensure that iran and isis will continue to dominate in the region while thousands of innocent civilians suffer and die. just as the christians in ifrack they support leaving security in the hands of isis and the iranians. thousand of them would have been killed last summer if it weren't for u.s. air strikes to repeal -- repel and isis advancement against them. nothing could be more irresponsible or damaging to our interests. let me say this to those who say
this is a vote to urge an aumf vote. i personally support a strong aumf and authorization. one to defeat and destroy isis. we met the white house council he, presented a very different aumf that would restrict further the president's current abilities to destroy and defeat isis. i cannot support that. and this resolution, with all due respect is the wrong way to accomplish the goal of defeating isis through a strong authorized use of military force. with that mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i yield two minutes to my new york friend and colleague, mr. nadler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. nadler: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in support of this resolution and i commend the sponsors, mr. mcgovern and
ms. lee, for introducing it. i do sot not -- i do so not because i necessarily think we should withdraw our troops in six months, maybe we should, i'm not sure yet. but i do know we are waging a war that is probably unconstitutional. as we did in libya. since world war ii, we have time after time gotten away from the constitutional command that congress shall declare war. the found -- the framers said, no, war is too important to allow one person, the president, to decide on it. but we gotten away from that. we've gotten away from it because we didn't have time, that was the excuse, with the missiles flying over, you couldn't call congress into session. then came iraq. we had a resolution for the use of military force. then came libya. plenty of time to consult with nato plenty of time to consult with ashe countries no, time to consult with congress. i believe that was unconstitution -- and foolish as
it turns out -- but unconstitutional use of force. now we have the middle east. in iraq and syria, we're get manager and more into the war. i'm not commenting on the intelligence of that right now. it may be we have no choice but to fight isis. it may be, as the republicans seem to want without saying so, we should have a lot of boots on the ground, buzz that's what they mean when they say the president is doing it halfway. or maybe the bigger threat is iran and we should turn our attentions to iran instead of passively alying with iran against isis. or maybe we should say it's up to the middle eastern people they can handle it and pull our troops out altogether. that's debate we need what are the limits? congress ought to make these decisions in the name of the american people, not the president. because we haven't had an aumf on the floor, we must have this resolution. this resolution is not intended
to pull out in six months -- can i have an additional minute? mr. engel: one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: this resolution is not intended to force a pullout in six months but debate. let us do our job and if the president submitted an aumf that is too strong or too weak, bring up a different one. it's our job to make those decisions and stand before our constituents and say this is important enough to go to war with isis or iran and send more troops there or not and here's why and here are the limitations. we shouldn't have boots on the grouped or should. that's our decision to make. we have had 10 years of war -- 13 years of war. we thought we were voting for three weeks of strikes against bases in afghanistan.
the 2002 aumf was to topple saddam hussein. he's gone. the consequences are not over. we ought to debate this. pass one or not. that's our decision, but pass this resolution to force that decision on us. i thank you and yield become. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis. mr. lewis: i rise in strong support of this resolution. let me thank the gentleman from massachusetts and the gentlewoman from karl, ms. lee and the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for their tireless leadership on this issue. thank you mr. mcgovern. for 14 i don't know long years our nation has been at war.
people are sick and tired of war. this resolution simply opens the doors to bring american soldiers home. let me be clear. we must maintain a strong national defense. we have a responsibility to protect our borders, our diplomats and americans at home and abroad. but this is not through a barrel of a gun. no bombs cannot eradicate the seeds of hate. over and over again, i have stood on this very floor and reminded my colleagues that the use of force cannot, must not be taken lightly especially when the needs at home are so great and the sea of terrorism is so
bad. president kennedy once said, those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable. many of those share my concern that young people in the middle east would never forget the violence that they have experienced in their youth. i fear then and i will say again, they will grow up hating our children, our grandchildren and generations yet unborn. those young people who have little faith in democracy and value of inclusion for the hope of lasting peace. hate against hate violence begets violence, toughness against a greater toughness and
we must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. these young people must be our focus. we must lift them and listen to the voices for peace. we must demonstrate democracy is the most effective reference against terrorism. our people are sick and tired of war. i hope that all of my colleagues will support this resolution and vote yes the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i yield three minutes
to the the gentlewoman from from the district of columbia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for three minutes. ms. norton: i thank my good friend from new york for yielding to me. i have something special to say. as the united states has increasingly drifted into war without the usual congressional authorization, i appreciate that today's resolution permits the house to assert its appropriate role. i only ask that the residents of the district of columbia be permitted to be heard in the same way as other americans. although my colleagues will not only speak today, they will vote the will of their constituents
today. although district residents are already serving in iraq, syria and elsewhere i am limited to speaking without a vote. what an outrage, especially to our veterans. that outrage is amplified considering that district residents pay $12,000 annually per capita more in federal taxes than the residents of any state in the union, to support our government in war and in peace. regardless of what is decided on this resolution mr. speaker district residents will be there for america, as they have been for a war ever since the nation was created. it is time that congress was there for district residents.
nearly 200,000 d.c. residents have fought for america's freedom in time of war yet residents including our d.c. veterans are still denied a vote in the national legislature that sends them to war. in fact d.c. service members fought and won the vote for citizens in iraq and afghanistan, yet our veterans came home without the same voting rights for themselves. the nation willingly accepts their sacrifices and demands their tax dollar >> the house later voted against the measure.
>> they will return tomorrow and consider a repeal for the affordable care act and medicare cost control mechanisms come alive hundred -- live coverage when the house returns. the hill is reporting that tomorrow they will only vote on a tpa bill and not the package known as taa. the president says he wants both past, but he is willing to accept them individually. while the house was working on troop withdrawal measures today others were on capitol hill to talk about u.s. strategy in the middle east. they gave updates on training security forces against isis. last week, the president ordered more troops into iraq you can -- to come back militants.
this is just under three hours. mac thornberry: before we proceed, i want to make clear that we will not tolerate disturbances in these proceedings. i want to thank all our guests for your cooperation. this committee meets today to hear from the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on u.s. policy in the middle east. this region is not subject to easy or simple solutions and had bedeviled statesmen of many countries for generations. yet there is also a sense that we are at a careless time and the u.s. strategy is an adequate. dr. kissinger's testified earlier before the senate that multiple of peoples are
unfolding in the middle east simultaneously. there is a struggle for power within states, a contest between states, a conflict between ethnic and sectarian groups, and an assault on international state system. he further argued that especially in a time of global upheaval, the consequences of american disengagement is greater turmoil. it seems to me that that is what we are witnessing. president obama admitted recently that there is not a complete strategy for dealing with isis, others argue that there may will be a strategy at work. one of retrenchment and accommodation, so that the u.s. wave a lesser role in the middle east. u.s. military personnel are the most capable in the world, but i know of no one who thinks that 450 more in iraq will turn the tide against isis area very concerning -- isis. very concerning to me by recent press reports that iran is
continuing to pay and equipment the taliban and afghanistan as part of its regional efforts to harm u.s. interests. when one factors in the chaos in yemen and syria, the uncertain -- uncertainty about the future of turkey, the doubts about u.s. and egypt, the threats to our ally israel, the plane artifacts show that situation in the middle east hasn't deteriorated substantially in the last six years. what is worse, there seems to be nothing coming from the white house to change that trajectory. we cannot expect our distinguished witnesses today to answer for all the failures of the administration's approach to the middle east over the last six years. we should expect to hear the military component of a strategy to reverse this deteriorating trend. my view is that there is no
substitute for american leadership in the middle east or anywhere else area that does not mean it is up to us to solve age-old disputes, but it does mean that we cannot afford for our own sake to simply stand back. we must be strong, especially militarily. the yield to the ranking member. adam smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the secretary of defense. the joint chiefs for joining us today. and for the great work for our country. there are different battles going on. it is an overwhelming problem that is creating a huge humanitarian crisis, is that not just to the region, but to the globe. i disagree with the notion that a u.s. presence will stall the problem. i hope we would have learned that having a substantial u.s.
presence in iraq and afghanistan, that -- showing up and saying we are here to solve your problems is not going to get it done. as far as the strategy is concerned, i think we have a strategy. i think what people are frustrated by if that that strategy, the u.s. strategy, does not simply solve the problem. i have had a number of people complain to me about a lack of strategy. and i asked them, what should we do >>? i have not gotten an answer. so as we approach this, i hope that we are cautious. i think that would make it worse and i great cost to us. but we have to do is tactically use of the u.s. military to help the right people and move things in the right direction, not
think that the more u.s. military we use, somehow the better the situation get. i think that would be very, very dangerous. as far as the broader strategy it is really simple on its face. we need to find cindy's who are willing -- sunnis who are willing and able to fight isis. not just isis but if isis went away tomorrow, there would be another violent group, like there was al qaeda. it seems now isis has eclipsed al qaeda. it is not just a matter of defeating a group, it is an ideology. i want to hear from our two witnesses about our strategy, and getting those sunnis that would be willing to fight isis and present a more reasonable alternative in iraq and syria certainly but elsewhere, as well
for the people over there we are still relying on the baghdad government. it is built our hope that there will be an iraqi government that is sufficiently inclusive so that the sunnis will be willing to fight for it. i just don't see that happening. starting with out my lackey -- a l maliki, they set up a very sectarian separatist government that did everything to shove the sunnis into the arms of isis. i've heard he had a desire to change that. the problem is, the people below him do not have the desire to change that. he does not have the power to make them. the minister of interior, to change their minds. as we continue to try and do that, i fear that strategy won't work. now, i know why we do it because what's the alternative?
how do we offer the sunnis a reasonable place to be if they don't have support from back that. but i think we need to start thinking about it. i think we need to put a lot of pressure on a golf allies like saudi arabia like you a you to say, look at these are your people. the baghdad government has abandoned them. you don't want isis to be the alternative. what can you do to encourage the tribes in syria and in iraq to turn on isis? it's not easy. hope that we do not go deeper and deeper into that and making the problem worse, the bottom line is, for all of their fault and failings, the one dependable argument for groups like al qaeda and isis is to stand up and say we are defending the muslim world against western aggression. that is a message that has widespread support, far more support certainly van the violent psychopathic groups that
espouse it. we cannot contribute to that. it we needed to build partnerships. it has to be locally driven, locally driven by sunnis in iraq and syria and elsewhere to eject isis, to eject that ideology and build a better future. it is no easy task. i do look forward to testimony and questions and hopefully we can learn more about how to go about that solution. i yield back. >> without objection, your statements will be part of the record. your floor. secretary carter: all members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here. thank you also for keeping a wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities for america and its leadership around the world. just a couple of weeks ago i was
in singapore, vietnam, and india and next week i will be in germany, estonia, and belgium for a nato meeting. i understand that your focus in this hearing is current development and the middle east. i will be happy to answer questions about anything else. the middle east, it is going through a social and political turmoil with a number of crosscutting geopolitical developments. our strategy in the region is grounded in america's core national interests. that is the foundation. tailored to address specific circumstances in specific places. iraq, syria, iran, and so forth. it leverages american leadership with the efforts of a coalition of allies and partners.
our core interests, for example, they drive our actions to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. similarly, they dictate that we not let up until we have destroyed isil and terrorists throughout the region that pose a danger. [disruption] >> this meeting will be in order. sorry for the interruption please proceed. secretary carter: similarly, we should not let up until we destroy isil and terrorists throughout the region that pose danger to allies and friends. the past few weeks serve as a reminder of those terrorists,
whether they are in libya, yemen , or syria, that we have "he to reach out and strike them. meanwhile, the security of israel will always be one of my top priorities. and the chairman just returned from israel this past weekend. we will continue to hone important security relationships with our partners in the gulf bolster their security and ensure freedom of navigation. the pursuit of our nation's core interests in the region is a strategy based on tireless diplomacy, backed by formidable military power and dedicated capacity building to buttress and leverage the contributions of others and especially as noted those in the region themselves. that's why we have 35,000 forces plastered throughout the region, enabling us to strike terrorists and check iranian influence.
that is why we ensure israel's continued edge and why we are working with golf partners to make them more capable of defending themselves against aggression. that isn't why we support saudi arabia and protecting their territory and people from attacks. and supporting international efforts to prevent uranian shipments from reaching forces in yemen. that is why the united states is supporting efforts to pursue political sentiments throughout the region and to libya and syria. while i am prepared for questions related to the dod, i will like to focus on the immediate issue that i understand the committee is interested in, the u.s. led coalition's strategy to defeat isil. isil poses a threat to the u.s.
and the middle east, also in europe and asia. this is because of its intentions to strike and attack this country. they must be and will be dealt a lasting defeat. the strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat i sold -- isil draws upon the u.s. intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy and others. the strategy and its associated military campaign also involves a global coalition, reflecting both the worldwide consensus on the need to counter this threat and practical requirement for others to do their part. the counter i sold strategy has nine so-called lines of effort reflecting the breath of this challenge and the tools needed to combat it. the first is the political one,
led by the state department. in iraq, this involves voting more effective, inclusive, and multi-sectarian government. each of the other lines of effort requires success in this line, because it is the only way to create support among local forces and people. that support being necessary to make progress against extremism. next to lines of effort are interconnected, to deny them safe haven and -- in iraq and syria. this alongside partners, it is the bombing campaign from the air, assisting forces on the ground, and training and equipping trusted local forces. i will address our militaries current execution of these two lines in a moment. i want to underscore a crucial point about our campaign in iraq
and syria. it requires capable, motivated, legitimate local ground forces to hold to rain -- terrain, that is the only way to make a truly lasting defeat of this movement. the fourth line of effort is enhancing the collection on michael of intelligence. -- of isil. this is code led i -- code led -- co-led by the state and counterterrorism center. this is to disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to and from isil, both which are critical in this networked world. and the eighth line of effort,
is the humanitarian support. the department of homeland security and fbi are working together to support and protect the homeland. the ninth line of effort disrupting terrorist threats here. the effective execution of all nine of the lines of effort by the united states and the coalition partners is plainly necessary to ensure overall success. let me turn to the execution of dod, beginning with the u.s. led campaign of airstrikes against isil. this effort has produced clear results. it has limited isil's freedom of movement and impeded it control. it has enabled key achievements for forces including the recent success of anti-isil forces that took the town -- took a local town. they are also buying time and
space to carry out the second line of effort and enforcing a ground campaign. it is a work in progress. the iraqi security forces were severely degraded after an attack last june. the combination of this unity deserters, and ghost soldiers, who are paid on the books but do not show up, have greatly diminished their capacity. however, understanding challenges does not change reality. isil's lasting defeat requires local forces prevail on the ground. we can and will continue to develop and enable local forces, because we know from experience that putting u.s. troops on the ground as a substitute for local forces will not produce enduring
results. that is why dod 62 bolster forces to be capable of winning back and holding the isil controlled portions of the iraqi state. what we saw in ramadi last month was disappointing. it illustrated the importance of capable and motivated ground forces. in the days that followed, all of us on the national security team, took a another hard look at the campaign crossed all nine line of effort. at dod, i convened my team before, during, and after my trip to the asia region. -- to prepare options are the president for enhancements to identify. in our meetings at the white house and undergone we
determined that while we have the right framework, execution of the campaign should be strengthened, especially on the ground. we determined that our training efforts could be enhanced and thus are focusing on increasing participation of our training efforts, working with the iraqi government and stressing the focus on drawing in sunni forces , which are underrepresented today. we also determined that are equally being of the security forces had proceeded to slowly. this process was an earlier, sometimes delayed by bureaucracy in baghdad and also in washington. that is why we are now expediting delivery of essential equipment and material, like anti-take -- and i think capabilities -- including travel
forces. we also determined that we can enable the security divorces -- security forces with critical outreach to sunni committees -- sunni communities. my recommendation, last week the president sent 450 personnel to establish an additional site where we can advise and assist iraqi forces. situated between ramadi and another city, this is a key location for engaging sunni tribes. sunni leaders have committed to using terra-cotta -- takata to bring in forces. we are also encouraging planning support with an operations
center. we expect this move will open a new dimension in the efforts to recruit sunnis into the fight and helped the iraqis coordinate and plan a critical effort to roll back isil. secretary kerry and i have agreed to begin a process to continually look at the campaign, starting with improving coronation across our expect the lines of effort. execution however is a two-way street and our training efforts in iraq have been slowed by a lack of trainees. we have not received enough recruits. of the 24,000 iraqi security forces that we envisioned training by this fall, we have only received enough recruits to train about 7000. that is in addition to 2000 service personnel. as i told iraqi leaders we must
see a greater commitment from all parts of the iraqi government. there are positive sides. i met with the prime minister and just last week i spoke with a member of the parliament, and they all fully under and the need to empower localized iraqi security forces and address organization and leadership failures. because of sovereign multi-sectarian iraq, it is more likely to ensure a lasting defeat of isil. the u.s. must continue to work with and through the iraqi government and all our actions. including our support of tribal forces. we need to reinforce multi-sectarianism not fuel a
reversal that would make a lasting defeat of isil harder. the situation in syria is more complex, because of the lack of a legitimate government partner and competing forces there. regardless, we will continue to strike isil in syria. we will continue to work with their neighbors to impede the flow of foreign fighters into and out of syria. the mission in syria has been challenging, but the requirement for a capable and motivated counter i sold -- counter-isil force and there isn't necessary. in conclusion, this can and must be assured. it will require assistance on everyone's part, the entire u.s. government, the entire national coalition, and most importantly the iraqi and.
peoples. with your support, including your support for american troops and their families, for which i and they are ever grateful, we will achieve isil's lasting defeat. >> general dempsey, you have had a number of interactions with this committee in the first six months of this year. that is the reason, i will not say goodbye to you, even though the date of your retirement approaches. so thank you for being here. the floor is your's. general martin dempsey: it is good to be back to talk about a subject of importance. ranking member smith, good to see you. and other members, i really do appreciate the opportunity to be here this warning to his test -- to discuss this.
the middle east is unpredictable and extremely complex, but our goals are straightforward. we -- i characterized the current environment in the middle east in terms of three converging steps of complexity. first, several governments are struggling for a political legitimacy, because they are not sufficiently pluralistic or they are not sufficiently accountable to their citizens. iraq for example is still working toward a national government. second the centuries old rivalry with sunnis has come to the forefront. it is a tug-of-war between howard's. and third, internal to islam, we see rise in competition between modern elements and radical elements and into that space
isil. these will test the results of the security forces there. stability must be cultivated from the inside out. importantly owned by regional stakeholders. positive transformation of the region will be achieved over time by, with, and through our regional partners. within this context, the role of the u.s. military is taking against a trans regional threat of isil represents an appropriate level of effort. i underscore what was emphasized, that the military is a component of a much broader strategy. military power alone will not solve this. we have two lines of effort of nine. of our two lines of effort, one
is kinetic, the combination of airstrikes to enable iraqi security forces. and the other, which is actually the centerpiece of our military strategy, is to train and equip. this is focused on building partners who are taking responsibility for their own security. as i said before, this is in iraq first strategy. this is not a military only one. again, we continue to pressure isil. we are at the beginning of a complex, non-linear campaign that will require sustained effort over an extended. of time to promote durable regional stability over the long term. we are constantly evaluating our approach and making sure that we are resourcing it appropriately.
balanced with our many other global commitments. let me think this committee for what you do every day to support our men and women in uniform and their families. thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. secretary, let me follow up on what general dempsey said. primary line of effort is the training and equip mission. is it your judgment that 450 more people, are they going to tip the balance to make the mission successful? secretary carter: the numbers are not as important as the location. it is in the heart of sunni territory and i think it will make a big difference in it the
performance of the train and equip program as regards to recruiting sunni fighters. we are actually seeing that in the days since we established that presence there. also, the and bar -- anbar operations center, another function of those people being mayor, is to be in a operations center said that we can help them with their command and control, planning, and discipline. so those are the purposes, the benefits of the move. it is necessary, if not sufficient -- it is not sufficient, but it is necessary to get sunni forces into the fisa that they are motivated and trained and equipped. mac thornberry: what is the reasonable time. to check back on this and see if it is working?
secretary carter: weeks, we are already getting an inflow of sunni fighters, we will put them through the program. as i mentioned in my testimony we have unused capacity in parts of iraq. the iraqi government has not furnished us with paid recruits, but now that is turning around and it has to stay turned around for us to have success. >> let me ask another question. many will have questions about this isis site. i want to ask about the strategy to deal with iranian influence outside of the nuclear talks. press reports about the iranians quit being and pain -- equipping and paying the taliban, we know
that they are giving support to those in the civil war in yemen. they are the primary force propping up a sod -- saassad in syria, so what is the administration's strategy for dealing with iranian influence other than the nuclear talks? secretary carter: iranian influence in the region is the other major challenge. that is besides isil. those to stand above others. i would go back to the foundation there, which is checking that influence and defending our ally, israel, and keeping security commitments to
our golf partners who were here in town a few weeks ago. there is a reason why there are 35,000 u.s. forces there, to provide security for our friends and allies and to check iranian influence, which as you indicated, one sees them thinking -- one sees them seeking this. it is another big challenge for us and it really is the reason why we are postured the way we are in the middle east. the chair man just got back from israel and he has been working with runners on those kinds of checks. i -- >> i appreciate the fact that we are folks over there, but i have not heard about and approach. i'm not sure that we are dealing
with it. i will yield to mr. smith. mr. smith: the chairman and i met last week with a sunni leader, and one thing he said that surprised me was the difficulty of getting broader support from the baghdad government and shifting focus to where could the sunnis, in that path into syria where isil is most dominant, and he expressed disappointment that the other gulf states, saudi arabia, uae or even turkey, did not seem to be willing to give much support even jordan as well, for the sunnis in that area. number one, do you agree with that assessment? i tend to take this guy at his
word. and number two, why? it would seem to me that the feeding -- defeating isil would be important to them. why are they not doing more to help those groups to resist isil in that part of iraq and syria? secretary carter: that is a critical question. it goes that to other forces countering isil. and i too met with the same man last week you said the same thing and i think he was speaking on behalf of of a number of sunni forces political forces, in western iraq who would like to see more support and recognize, as i think you noted in opening statements that americans and westerners are -- can lead and
enable, but if they get a high profile, that becomes a problem in its own right. therefore, all the more reason to get others, sunnis involved now in the fight. the heads, one thing i will know, the heads of -- were in washington and we went to camp david three weeks ago. this was one of the major themes of our conversations. the other one being checking iranian influence, which they are also concerned about. their concern about isil is genuine and i think their actions can be strengthened. getting them in the program -- >> i got all that, but why? what in your opinion having worked with these people, why is it not happening? secretary carter: one reason is they simply lack the capacity
and so we talked about building special operation forces as opposed to air forces. we are looking for ground forces. capable ground forces is one that is skilled in counterterrorism counterinsurgency and so forth. >> that is a key question. sorry to interrupt. that is where we need to go and that is where we have this fight in the senate and house, over whethe or not to directly arm the kurds skip the baghdad government and hit it to the people who are fighting. in some cases fighting successfully. you know, shouldn't we be shifting a lot of the focus to that and basically saying to baghdad, time is up. you have a relationship with iran, with the shia militias,
doesn't seem to be much we can do about that, we need to shift resources to be bold -- you mentioned it, 24,000 iraqis, you have evan thousand. at what -- you have 7000. at what point do we shift? the concern is about the fraction -- the fracture of iraq, that cow has left the barn, they are fractured. when do we shift the strategy and start to build the capabilities of other partners who will fight? secretary carter: sectarianism and iraq is the principal factor that brought us to where we are with isil. it was prime minister maliki and his partisan manner of
governance. now we have met with the prime minister someone who i believe is genuinely committed to behaving in a decentralized federalized, but multi-sectarian single state. personally, he is predicated. i think the chairman asked the question does this run throughout iraq, and that is where we are waiting to see. and in the meantime, we are arming the kurds, the sunnis, we do it in a way that does not delay, that assistance, but we are still doing it through the government of iraq, because we're still trying to support the prime minister in maintaining a decentralized i'm
a bit single unitary -- decentralized, but single unitary state. >> if we just had these extremist sunni groups to fight, that would be enough, but when you throw in iranian influence and how it stirs up the region, it deftly creates a high-level problem. i want to make the observation that as awful as iran is number one, this is not really necessarily helping them to fight multiple wars outside their own borders. to have to fight in syria, yemen, that can be draining as we well know. so it is a negative influence on them. whatever one might say about iran, the difference between them and isil, isil wants to
kill as many americans as possible. as we are balancing this, it is a difficult balance to make defeating isil should be at the top of the list of concerns. as bad as iran is and trying to figure out a way to get them to stop having their influence, i think we really need to have our number one focus on the brighter ideology that motivates people to attack us. final question, there have been reports that the assad government is weakening. how do you assess the chances that they will fall? is it possible that assad leads because of how bad things are going, and then what? secretary carter: two
observations on that and then the chairman might want to comment. we would like to see a transition in which he disappears from the scene, so that he and his regime as a another source of fuel for extremism is eliminated. that is, it is possible because his forces are weekend and they have taken great losses. they are having trouble, their forces and reserves are depleted. they are increasingly isolated in the damascus area and in the isle of wight -- other areas of syria. i think the last thing i would say, congressman smith, that the most -- the best way for the
syrian people for this to go would be for him to remove himself from the scene and there could be created, difficult as that will be, a new government of area based on the moderate opposition -- government of syria based on the moderate opposition that we have been trying to build and helping them strengthen themselves. that would be a desirable path if he did remove himself, or was removed. punishment smith -- mr. smith: thank you. general martin dempsey: that was the purpose of my trip to the region.
to discuss with regional partners a scenario in which the regime would either collapse or assad would the part. that would leave syria ungoverned, or left in ways that wouldn't be positive for the region so we are working with partners on the near term. mr. smith: thank you. mr. forbes: thank you for all you have done for us. mr. secretary, thank you for being here today. we are talking about strategy in the middle east and one thing i find disconcerting, we have found individuals in the past that have held your job that indicate that the president's heart may not be in some of our military operations. it is also disconcerting when we
hear the president suggest that we have no winning strategy in the middle east. we are not always in the strategy business, but we are in the resourcing business here and we look at the gas that we have -- gaps that we have. we will have certain regions of the world that will not have carrier presence for your -- for weeks, during the year. in 2007, the navy was able to meet 90% of our validated requirements, but this year we only meet 44%. we have had testimony from the air force that they currently have the oldest and smallest air force since the history of the air force and that is less man -- less man 50% of their combat squadrons.
we have uploaded on a bill, this committee voted out 60-to. we have passed a defense appropriations bill. by all likelihood, it looks like a conference report will come out and those bills will be before the president in september of this year. you probably know we have 12 appropriations ills, the first one up before the president, that will probably be defense tells that's a bills and the president will have 11 days to sign them. now you are kind enough last time you were here to suggest to us what year recommendation would be to the president about vetoing bills. now that you actually have a real bill to look at and to analyze, which helps fill some of those tax -- gaps?
can you tell us whether or not you would recommend that the president veto that bill if it is substantially the same bill that has passed on a bipartisan basis? general martin dempsey: thank you. secretary carter: you are absolutely right about the sources. we cannot continue to be the world's finest fighting force if we don't get a budget, a budget picture, a horizon in front of us. i have not changed my view from last time. i really fervently hope that everybody can come together both parties -- mr. forbes: here is my point, we
don't always take the bills we hope we can have. if a bill comes substantially the same as the -- bill, would you recommend to the president that he sign it or veto it? secretary carter: the president has always -- has already said he will feel it. he has already determined he will do that. mr. forbes: have you done an analysis of the risk because the result of that would be you get at least billions less. i'm just asking -- secretary carter: i know what you are asking but it is a herky-jerky approach to the budget. it is managerial harmful. mr. forbes: you will have $25
billion short if it fails, but that risk would put us in a place where we would be below the minimum edge of what we need for international security. let me in by saying, i think it is unimaginable that we would send 450 troops into harm's way and still look their families in the eye and tell them that we vetoed a bill that would give them the resources they need. i healed. miss davis: -- secretary carter: i have not changed my view, we need a multiyear strategy, we have people, the very people that have careers, they want to know what their future is going to be and this business where we have a budget one year at a time, i'm not blaming anyone for it, it is
a collective saying, but our country needs to rise up and get it together, i'm just telling you that it is damaging to the institution that i am responsible for. i travel around the world and this is, this looks terrible. it gives the appearance that we are diminishing ourselves because we cannot come together on a budget year in and year out. so, i continue to hope and believe that we can come together behind an agreement and agreed a budget, that has a multiyear horizon and allows us to plan and execute programs and recruit and retain people in the way that i think we need to do. >> mr. secretary, i do not disagree with anything you said. the veto is a yes or no.
that is the thing that is concerning. miss davis. miss davis: thank you both for being here. i appreciate your service and all you have contributed. i think there is obviously controversy and concern, i appreciate the fact that it is a direct response and we would like everyone to get the yes on this one. we need to work harder on it. thank you. i wanted to first just asked about what you talked about as the first critical line of effort really, which is you say a political one. my concern is that with limited security that we have, i am not sure the state department, even if they had the resources and that is obviously a great concern, if they are really able to do their job in iraq. would like you to respond to that and along with that, really
does know the fourth lie which is how we communicate and whether we are doing that effectively? those are two important things and finally i want to ask you about, briefly, you know the issue about resources. you mentioned the fact that we need to expedite delivery of equipment, that we're not doing a good job with that, and i want to know why did that takes a long? there are issues around baghdad, but our own issues as well, what are we learning from nasa that that's -- what are we learning from that? secretary carter: on the political front, which means trying to support the prime minister and government of iraq to govern in a way that they can
collect and support from sunnis and collect and support from kurds and shiites, and create a security force so they can defeat isil and turn iraq into a place where people can live any decent way. that is an essential task. we need to a line that -- a line that very closely with the military line, which is why secretary kerry has come back to town and i are meeting, our teams are meeting specifically to make sure that those lines of effort are synchronized. messaging, i would only make one note about messaging, an area where i think we are unnecessarily -- ourselves. we, for example, had a website that described the facts of our
campaign and what was going on. it was tuned for an audience in the region so they could come to the website and learn about what we were doing. so we were telling the truth but we were denied the authority to operate that and we were told that was not an appropriate thing for the department of defense to be doing. >> denied the authority from? secretary carter: my congress. with respect to training and equipping, this is one of the situations where there is monti of responsibility to pass around, but i would not put it all on the pentagon, but let me tell you what happened. you past the money for 2015 in december, the money came out in january, it went through the process, and then there was in
your bill the requirement that we only spend 25% of it until we report the last 75%. we met that requirement. that really, i can't say was the limiting step, the limiting step for us to expand that money and building the training sites. what we did do in the meantime while waiting for the money, was reach into other parts -- pots we had. so we tried to fill the gap. the gap is closed now and in the money is flowing but it was not all on the iraqis died, although they were in impediment. they did not want us to do that. but anyway we are back on our feet now. i will not try to use something that tried -- excuse something that took longer than it should
have. >> on the resources that the security that secretary kerry and the state department are going to have and the backup security, i want to make sure that we get a full answer on that. thank you. >> who denied the website and on what basis did they deny it? we have worked for years to update restrictions on these issues and we are interested in fixing this problem if it is a problem with this branch of government. mac thornberry: chairman klein. john kline: i was looking at the preparation sheet here for today's hearing and it says this is a united states policy and
strategy and in the middle east and i think we have concluded we don't have a strategy. i am a little bit mystified about exactly what we are doing here since we don't have a strategy. i am looking at the situation in iraq, i was over there in baghdad a couple months ago around easter, talking to some troops there. we have over 3000 troops boots -- troops on the ground, they are frustrated because they don't know what the strategy is and how could they if we have not clearly articulated that. and now we are going to send 450 more people over there to execute a strategy that we do not know yet, so as i look at iraq and as you know chairman dempsey, i, like a lot of members have watched the situation changed, and it was at
one point where we looked like we were doing well after the surge, and then isil came across the border and baghdad was threatened, i guess my question is where are we in iraq today? are we winning, losing is it a quagmire, what is it today question? general, you are up. general martin dempsey: i have been in the army a long time and we do not volunteer for things. >> we will fight to the last soldier. general martin dempsey: where are we? >> are we winning, what is going on? general martin dempsey: let's talk about the personal pronoun
we. if you're asking if the u.s. is winning, that is the wrong question? >> we've got soldiers there we are flying strikes there, are we, the united states the free world, western allies, are we winning or losing? general martin dempsey: the u.s. military campaign and the iraqi government, we are on task to deliver that which we have committed to delivering, which is security forces, not just the --, but the sunni tribes. this is the ability to confront isil in their territory. this is a far different approach than ever we were to decide ourselves that it was our responsibility to defeat isil inside of iraq. it is my military judgment that an enduring victory over isil
can only be accomplished over those -- comp list by those stakeholders there in the region. >> so, i guess gen. dempsey: you famously heard stan mcchrystal talking about confronting al qaeda. to defeat a network, we have to be a network. stand built a network of allies to confront al qaeda. i used a lily pad example. most of you probably know on the surface, it looks like lily pads are free-floating, that they are tethered to a network of education. we are trying to build a network that will